Welcome to Superoceras, a blog about science and natural history, slightly biased towards paleontology and zoology, but inclusive of all sciences. Started in October of 2009, my goal is to communicate scientific knowledge (and the occasional piece of nonsense) in an informative and entertaining manner. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns, or criticism at superoceras(at)gmail(dot)com, and follow me on Twitter @Superoceras for all that and more in 140 characters or less!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Summer in the Butterfly Garden

Back in early May, I decided to give myself a birthday present and do something beneficial for my yard and wildlife by planting a butterfly garden.  I spent a large part of the summer tweeting about the Maryland native plants that I chose to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, but wanted to share a little more of the story here. I took what was the area I had been using as a tree nursery, and cleared a little more space for over two dozen species of native shrubs and flowers.  The plot went from this...

... to this.

And in just about a month, it looked like the little plants had taken hold and were going to thrive.  

And did they ever.  Unfortunately, I never took a photo of the entire garden when it was at its strongest growth, but all the flowers that it produced were beautiful, and attracted a variety of wildlife.  I was specifically looking to attract monarch and swallowtail butterflies, and I was very successful at that.  Next year, I hope to attract (or see if they came by already) hummingbirds as well.  There is something very satisfying about being able to walk out your back door and sit among the angiosperms watching the endopterygotes go about their business.  As we head through fall and into winter, I look forward to spring, and the joys that the garden will bring me in the coming seasons. It was a place that made me happy, and I'm happy to share it with you all. 

A monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) feeding on blue vervain (Verbana hasta).

An Eastern tiger swallowtail feeding (Papilio glaucus) on Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium fistulosum).
For more information on butterfly and native gardens, planting your own, and all the benefits that come from it, check out the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and National Wildlife Federation websites for more information.

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