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Michigan Butterfly Garden: Before & After Photos

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chit Chat' started by Oxalis, Mar 20, 2016.

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  1. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Nice updates, lots of progress!
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  2. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks!! We've been remodeling our kitchen so I haven't been doing as much gardening as I would have liked this season. I do have a couple baby milkweed plants to put in the ground to start expanding this garden more though. :) My ultimate goal is to get one of these signs in my front yard!!

    [​IMG]
  3. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    The pumpkins my husband and I carved for Halloween this year, next to all of the gourds that our garden grew. I got one that was part gourd; I named him "Lumpy." ;)

    pumpkins_2018.jpg
  4. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Mama robin's eggs hatched in our front yard. The little babies are growing quickly!

    baby_robins1.jpg

    baby_robins2.jpg
    CarolM and Pearly like this.
  5. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Big update!! The other day, hubby and his dad cleaned out almost all of the lava rocks from the west side of the house and filled in the area with fresh dirt. Yesterday, we picked up a number of native seedlings from the Wildtype nursery that should be tasty for our butterflies. :<3: I wanted to start with some variety, hoping that most of these get established and really fill in the area, and then add something different next year if we end up with additional empty space. I drew up a "plan" for where to plant everything (taller plants in the back) and hubby put them in this morning. He added some of the dirt from our compost bin, so I hope that helps them grow faster. I also found some Burpee mammoth dill seeds in our fridge so he threw them in wherever there was empty space (these aren't native but butterflies tend to enjoy them). We have a few more milkweed seeds from our plants last year that we can add as well. The Penn sedge kind of lines the garden from the lawn.

    Full list of our new plants:

    Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans)
    Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
    Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
    Tall Sunflower (Helianthus giganteus)
    Marsh Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)
    Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
    Western Sunflower (Helianthus occidentalis)
    Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
    Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
    Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
    Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa)
    Horsemint (Monarda punctata)
    Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)
    Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctoria)
    Ironweed (Vernonia missurica)
    Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
    Tall Tickseed (Coreopsis tripteris)
    Pennsylvania (Penn) Sedge (Carex pensylvanica)
    Mammoth Dill (Anethum graveolens)

    Here is the area previously:

    And this morning:

    new_butterfly_plants.jpg

    One of the Jacob's ladder (Polemonium reptans) was in bloom when we purchased it. I love the purple bell flowers!

    Jacobs_ladder.jpg

    The prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) in the front of the house is in bloom. It's grown since last year. It's also from Wildtype.

    Prairie Smoke.jpg

    At least one of our anemones came back and is already blooming (we randomly threw in some bulbs we'd gotten for free).

    anemones_back.jpg

    Many of the native plants from the front yard are coming back nicely.

    hose_area.jpg

    All that's left to clear of lava rocks is the corner of the flower bed where the weeping cherry tree is, and the small flower bed on the other side of the garage. We may also replace the cherry tree with something more native, like an American smoketree (Cotinus obovatus), which is native to Tennessee, Arkansas, and a few other states. And then lots of weeding. Weeding forever. :mad:
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
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  6. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    Can’t wait to see this garden grow and all the Visitors that come for all that yummy nectar!
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  7. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    Can’t wait to see this garden grow and all the Visitors that come for all that yummy nectar!
  8. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Me too!! :)
  9. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I must say our butterfly garden is quite the success this season! First, some photos from early June I never got around to posting:

    A double rainbow and some good rain.

    Double Rainbow.jpg

    A mysterious yellow flower I don't remember planting. I looked in 4 wildflower books to no avail, so it must be something store-bought. Looks like a bulb plant.

    Mysterious_Yellow_Flower.jpg

    Fluffy prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) flowers seeding.

    Prairiesmoke.jpg

    Growing plants under the front window. Some are probably weeds now; we're waiting for them to bloom first.

    under_window.jpg

    Some of the new plants on the side of the house. One of the butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is almost ready to bloom.

    baby_milkweed.jpg

    Columbine in the backyard in bloom. The hummingbird stopped by a few times for it.

    so_many_columbine.jpg

    Hubby's southern blue flag iris (Iris virginica) in the backyard.

    iris.jpg

    And now here are the photos from today!

    Hubby trained a native rose to grow up the back deck railing. If we ever build an arbor/trellis, we'll definitely get this plant for it. The bees love the flowers! It's either Rosa carolina, R. setigera, or R. palustris, I'm not sure at the moment. :confused: It has grown very well and was nicely pruned at a smaller size by our local bunnies. There's also a monarch butterfly on the black-eyed Susan at the left of the photo.

    native_rose_blooms.jpg

    More rose blooms with a bunch of other natives: black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.), green-headed coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata), and possibly some Monarda spp. too. The columbine looks like it's seeding now.

    native_rose_blooms2.jpg

    The butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is now as brightly colored as it's going to get!! We have seen a monarch caterpillar on it but with so many milkweed plants out there this year, he's gotten hard to find.

    butterfly_weed.jpg

    It smells very fragrant out there today! There is some standard purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) as well as a 'Cheyenne Spirit' variety that appears more reddish orange; non-native hollyhock (Alcea spp.); and the tall stalks in the back are common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca).

    butterfly_flowers.jpg

    butterfly_flowers2.jpg

    butterfly_flowers3.jpg

    And the little blazing star (Liatris spp.) behind the yucca is just starting to bloom. :)

    gayfeather.jpg
    Pearly, Turtulas-Len and EllieMay like this.
  10. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Everything looks great! Nice update.
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  11. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    A few more photos of our plants:

    This should be red baneberry (Actaea rubra). The fruit is poisonous, true to its name, but the native plant does provide some nice decoration.

    red_baneberry.jpg

    Here's how the new plants are doing. In their first year, they should be using more energy to put down roots than to grow taller. I expect most of them to flower in their second season.

    new_plants.jpg

    Along our fence, we have some wonderful cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum), the tallest of which measure at about 8 feet. I can't say enough about how much I love this plant! The name comes from the rainwater cupping ability of the leaves, which are fused around the stem. Although the flowers are rather unexceptional, pollinators love them. When they seed in the fall, the goldfinches go crazy for them. We're happy to keep this plant in our backyard as the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service lists it as "threatened" in Michigan.

    cup_plant_fence.jpg

    Looking upward, I'm dwarfed by the cup plant.

    cup_plant2.jpg

    More of our orange and purple coneflower. :<3:

    orange_and_purple_coneflower.jpg
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  12. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    The swallowtail stopped by for some coneflower. The monarch landed on some milkweed leaves and looked like it may have even been laying eggs on them. We'll see. More photos later!

    Swallowtail.jpg
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  13. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Two types of Monarda in bloom in our butterfly garden: Beebalm/Horsemint (Monarda punctata) on the left, and Wild Bergamot/Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa) on the right. We've seen lots of butterflies this summer, so we're really loving our new garden!!

    two_monarda.jpg
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  14. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE your pictures!!!! Gorgeous flowers!!!!!
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  15. Oxalis

    Oxalis Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks so much, @Pearly!! I am just astonished at how few seasons it took to turn our yard into such an amazing ecosystem! It seems like all we did was put down some native plants, and then the plants did their thing, propagating and attracting the many pollinators that call Michigan home. This year, we've seen all kinds of organisms calling our yard home, like birds, bunnies, butterflies, dragonflies, hummingbirds, and some insects I've never seen before. We have increased the biodiversity so much for just a quarter acre of space. When I see so much wildlife enjoying these plants, I remember that we put those plants down for them, and not for us, and then I feel part of something so much bigger than just my backyard.

    monarch.jpg

    monarch2.jpg

    monarch3.jpg

    monarch4.jpg

    bee2.jpg

    Hubby's Hibiscus moscheutos 'Kopper King' in bloom:

    kopper_king.jpg
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