Michigan Butterfly Garden: Before & After Photos

Maro2Bear

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We're officially a monarch hangout!! Yesterday I found a caterpillar on one of our milkweed plants. Of course he picked the smallest of our milkweeds to chomp on. He's pretty big, so I'm hoping to see a chrysalis soon. I'm so glad the monarchs have decided our yard is a suitable enough location to lay their eggs. :<3:

View attachment 250096

Nice updates, lots of progress!
 

Oxalis

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Nice updates, lots of progress!
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!!

waystation-sign.png
 

Oxalis

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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
 

Oxalis

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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:

Pearly

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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:

View attachment 271981

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

View attachment 271980

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.

View attachment 271982

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

View attachment 271978

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

View attachment 271979

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:

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

Pearly

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5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
5,294
Location (City and/or State)
Central Texas, Austin area
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:

View attachment 271981

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

View attachment 271980

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.

View attachment 271982

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

View attachment 271978

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

View attachment 271979

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:

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

Oxalis

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Jan 5, 2013
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Michigan
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
 

Oxalis

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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
 

Oxalis

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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
 

Oxalis

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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
 

Pearly

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Jul 14, 2015
Messages
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Central Texas, Austin area
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!!

View attachment 277161

Absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE your pictures!!!! Gorgeous flowers!!!!!
 

Oxalis

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Location (City and/or State)
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Absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE your pictures!!!! Gorgeous flowers!!!!!
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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