Thursday, August 1, 2013

Why Not Plant a Butterfly Garden?

Cardinal Flower gardens
Native Cardinal Flowers are focus of this  new garden.


Gardening to Attract Wildlife

Our Smorgasbord

By  Ken & Paula Korber

   One of the thing that I love most about  the Frostville Farmer's Market are the people that I meet; I enjoy hearing stories of their journey from a grassy yard to one that comes alive when planted with native: vines, trees, bushes and flowers along with annuals, vegetables, fruit trees and shade trees. The transformation is amazing!

Bees on purple coneflower
Three bees sharing a "table"
   I would like to introduce Ken and Paula Korber, from a suburb west of Cleveland, Ohio, USA. I am certain that you will enjoy their beautiful pictures, but more importantly I would hope that this blog post would serve as an encouragement for you to make changes in your landscape. There is no need for a complete makeover; start small and the visitors you attract will become your motivation to decrease the size of your lawn while expanding the dimensions of your gardens.

Beth Coyne

Turning Loss into Opportunity


Monarch Butterfly on Butterfly Bush
After this I am heading over to the Swamp Milkweed

   For years we watched as butterflies passed through our yard. They stayed only long enough to check out, and disregard, our humble offerings. In 2012 we had to have trees removed from our front lot. Though we were sad to see the trees removed, it was an opportunity to add flowers and bushes that required full sun. The idea of a butterfly garden came to mind.

Monarch on Swamp Milkweed
And the Monarch did  move to the Swamp Milkweed!
Injured swallowtail on Butterfly bush
Swallowtail with damaged wing finding a sweet nectar dinner
Side view of Monarch
Monarch on a Nectar Bush
Healthy Swallowtail with a bit larger wingspan

Planning Our New Butterfly Garden



Cardinal Flowers and Great Blue Lobelia
Native Blue Lobelia & Cardinal Flowers

We watched to see how long the sun hit our side lot. We began to research butterflies in our area, nectar plants and host plants. The garden was laid out. Soil was amended with compost and several plants were selected for the rich nectar they offered.

When planting selections for bees and butterflies, we noticed our summer hummer perched and watching us. Oops!  Our first extension was made that same year. The butterfly garden would be a butterfly AND hummingbird garden!!

  Don't Forget the Hummingbirds!

Front and center - Our Hummer on Native Trumpet Honeysuckle

This is Better than "Where is Waldo" ... Where is the Hummer?

Hummingbird in Salvia
Look close, he or she is bending with the Salvia leaves

Invitation for Dinner ... Accepted


Bees on swamp milkweed
Bumblebee and Honey Bee on Native Swamp Milkweed

   The plants are a mixture of native and non-native. We offer native favorites intermingled with local nursery items. Something for every palate of the winged jewels we  invite to our yard. So far, we've been richly rewarded. The butterflies who passed through are now staying quite awhile. Huge fuzzy black and yellow bumble bees and honeybees cover swamp milkweed, cone flowers, liatris, pin cushion flowers and agastache.

   The hummingbird not only hits his cardinal flowers and crocosmia, but samples agastache, butterfly weed, milk weed and nectar bushes. The nectar area has become the most active, interesting part of our yard.

Garden Expansion 


Swamp Milkweed , liatris and Rudebeckia
Swamp Milkweed, Liatris and Rudbeckia
   This year we have once again extended the garden. Native Joe pye, ironweed, and  obedient plants will be added. My friend Beth Coyne gifted us with red bee balm for our hummer. White and hot papaya cone flowers, black eyed susans, and daisies are also slated for the addition. Old favorites to bring in passers-by, new choices to keep them interested. The combination of native and non-native has worked well for us.

Block Full of Butterflies & Hummingbirds


"No one can change the world, but we can each change our little piece of it".

Paula Korber

Tiki Torch Coneflowers

This fall, when the finches start tugging on plants for seed, maybe they'll drop some in neighboring yards. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have an entire block full of butterflies and hummingbirds?  Then again, it's kind of nice having them to ourselves :)

 Thank you Paula and Ken for the time, research, planning and back breaking labor that you put into creating your suburban oasis. I appreciate your willingness to step out and serve as a game changers, actually "Garden Changers" for the great Cleveland area!

Beth Coyne

All pictures containing buddleia are of the seedless, non-invasive varieties. It is a shame that the butterflies didn't pose on all the native plants that the Korber's have growing  in their yard.


  1. Excellent post. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and it really does make me want to add more butterfly and hummingbird friendly plants to my gardens. Or maybe start a new one?.......

  2. Beth you already have 12! I think that you are doing more than your share!