Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Secrets of Butterfly Lovemaking

The Queen Butterfly


Yesterday I went to visit a Tucson garden(winner for the best xeriscaped yard of 2008) for breakfast and it was really something special. The owner is leaving with her husband for Mexico to live and it was their last big hoohah before they left their lives....and garden behind in Tucson. We arrived at their home and were immediately surrounded by butterflies EVERYWHERE!!! It was like walking into a Walt Disney movie without the villains.  Okay that last line was cheesy, but it seriously was very cool to be surrounded by that many butterflies! So much to learn....here is a posting secret on how to attract the Queen Butterfly to your Southwestern Garden.


Euphorbia Trigona

Xeriscape winner 2008 in Tucson

I asked the owner how old her garden was and she told me that it was 7 years old. Depending on what part of the garden you're standing in at El Presidio, it will vary from 1 year to 3 years.  Seeing her garden after 7 years made me happy because I know that it all will come together.  Several things were interesting to note from this conversation.  I asked her if it would be hard to leave this garden when they move, and she responded, "It's just a garden.  I love this place, but I could take it or leave it." That response threw me off as I thought of my own circumstances.....after all the intimate time and energy you spend in a garden...and years of it!!!....you can just "take it or leave it"!? Maybe I will understand that statement down the road, but for now, I'll just store it in the back of my mind. She also said that she wouldn't mind putting in a pool. We all reacted to her as if she were nuts!!!  Pools in Tucson are a waste of water and a huge mess....not to mention all the critters that drown in this deadly trap!  If you had kids, maybe......but even then.....we have places for people to go and swim.  How many kids drown every year....every day...in this state because Mom or Dad or someone wasn't watching? Too many....plus so many people around here don't keep their pools clean and West Nile/mosquitos are out of control in Central Tucson.  I can't believe how green people let their pools get. Okay, I'm getting off topic:)......More pics....but still....a pool??!




Of course, there are a lot of butterfly plants out there, but one stood out on this visit....the Blue Mist Flower or Ageratum ....just read the sign below...these latin names get to be too much;) And there is another name that most people call it here in Tucson.....Greggi. This is what the owner told me that this plant was. The shot below is taken from the Tucson Botanical Gardens...and they have two varieties of this plant.  The vid shows the title Eupatorium Greggi on the tag.


Greggi/Gregg's Blue Mistflower


video

Apparently this greggi acts like an aphrodisiac for the Queen Butterfly.




video

It was funny because she views her garden the same way most people see their gardens....as a disaster.  And again, it's all in the eye of the beholder.....that's why it's good to get an outsider's perspective when in doubt.  She was extremely happy to hear from people that her garden was divine:)

A butterfly orgy




Here are several comments about this plant that I found online regarding the Blue Mist Flower or Greggi and it's invasive nature....the home owner of this particular garden also told me that it spreads......

"It's funny how plants habits change locally. I was butterfly gardening in Tucson in very lean soil with little watering. Eupatorium Greggi did very well, but I wouldn't call it invasive at all. On the other hand, it was one of the best butterfly attractors in the garden."  From Lisa



"I don't have any, but have been looking all over for them. I saw a patch of this at a local business and was extremely impressed because there were more queen butterflies on that one patch than I'd ever seen flocking to flowers before. They absolutely went crazy over it and it was such a beautiful sight, I vowed I would find some and plant it. At least give it a try, it may do better here in texas at attracting butterflies than elsewhere. I've learned and am still learning , that different plants do better in some states and areas than others, and obviously, butterflies in texas may like mistflower better than butterflies in another state. I think it has to do with soil pH, and climate, and a lot of other things."




So....butterfly gardening....hmmmm:)

12 comments:

  1. Obviously with butterflies - If you plant it they will come. Who wouldn't love a garden full of butterflies.

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  2. Most of us are inviting butterflies into the garden. Those who are already swarmed with them would rather have a swimming pool. Guess most people are never really ever contented.

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  3. Such beautiful butterflies! My dad hates them though because of caterpillars.

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  4. I love butterflies and enjoyed your video. It was astonishing to see so many butterflies in a desert garden. :D

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  5. Como sempre, belas fotografias...Espectacular....
    Cumprimentos

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  6. Thanks for the comment! Your blog looks nice! I've visited the Tucson area once before(July 07). My husband and I went to the Saguaro National Park. We loved seeing the huge cacti everywhere!

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  7. Great blog! Looks like that plant is like catnip to butterfly's. Love the videos! Now her nonchalant answer to leaving her garden surprised me. I told my husband that he will have to drag me kicking and screaming from my succulent paradise. They are "almost" like my children. I get so upset when they die or are sick. Leaving them to let someone else take care of would be extremely hard. And forget the pool missy! What in the world is she thinking about.

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  8. Whats that plant in 3rd and 4th pic that looked like a giant horsetail ? I wonder if it can grow in the tropics.

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  9. That's a great question. I think it's a succulent and they grow very well here....but I am still researching the name of this guy. My friend grows this plant and it does very well here. I am guessing it would do well in the tropics....it doesn't like our winter too much. I'll look for it this weekend at the Botanical Gardens and get back to you.

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  10. Thanks for your nice comment! Your post makes me so happy - I've just planted two new Mist flowers in the garden and hope to have an "orgy" of butterflies next season! I've heard they do well here in Austin.

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  11. Euphorbia Trigona

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  12. Thanks for the name.... but Euphorbias not really my type.

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