Whether it feels like it or not, Spring is right around the corner!!  At 6:29 a.m., March 20th, it will officially be Spring!  If you’re anything like me, you are already studying the ground for evidence that the ground is thawing and for proof of life!  The past month has brought Dubuque the full spectrum of spring and winter weather, so I am sure many are worried about buds and shoots that already braved the elements.  But fear not, no irreparable damage was done.

For those of you planning secret gardens and backyard wonderlands, here are a few pointers for bringing butterflies to your backyard (bonus:  these tips will also attract bees and hummingbirds!!)

Colorful Flowers – Butterflies love yellow, orange, pink and purple colored flowers – look for:  violets, geraniums, thistle, sunflowers, lantanamonarch

Flower Clusters/Small Flowers – Show butterflies some love and welcome them into your yard by providing flowers that bloom in dense clusters or have a multitude of small flowers – look for:  mint, marigolds, snapdragons, dill, phlox, zinnia

IMG_3264 Sunlight – Butterflies love to feed under the warmth of the sun – look for:   backyard spaces that benefit from full sun (planting accordingly); look for: spots that have at a minimum full morning or afternoon sun if you don’t have areas that have full sun throughout the day

Avoid Insecticides – insecticides are lethal to butterflies as well
Don’t Forget the Next Generation! – Today’s caterpillars will be tomorrow’s butterflies; make sure you are adding plants that are caterpillar friendly throughout your flowerbeds – look for: milkweed, verbena, lilacs, daisies

Trees – Trees provide food and nectar for both caterpillar and butterfly – look for:  willow, cherry, apple, aspen, elm, birch, black cherry, sugar maple, dogwood