Boys’ Butterfly Window Box
The Gardening Nana by Nancy Craig
What is more fun than watching a butterfly emerge from its cocoon? Ever since my great nephews, Max & Eli, and I have been planting a Butterfly Window Box garden we have had the Blacktail butterflies return every summer. We know when the caterpillars arrive because the parsley will disappear almost overnight and sure enough we will find several of the green caterpillars munching away!
The first summer we watched each stage of the metamorphosis from the tiniest egg to the caterpillar when we put them in glass jars to feed them the parsley and watch them make the chrysalis. Then from these cocoons at last the butterflies emerged and we set them free.
One year one of the butterflies didn’t have a complete wing and flew away “crooked” so now we just watch them in the “wild” over the window box and beyond.
We plant the window box with easy annuals like zinnias, lantana, marigolds and the “summer snapdragons“(Angelonia angustifolia), and of course the herb, parsley. Adding a variety of flowers — different shapes, smells and colors — will not only attract but will assure that all stages of the butterfly are fed. I like to add easy perennials like Pinks (Dianthus) and Guara (Guara lindheimeri). With a common name of “whirling butterflies”, the Guara is just fun & perfect. The finishing touch is to cover the dirt with small pebbles then provide a shallow “pool” of sand & water nearby.
Our next project is planting a sunflower “fort” — we’ll keep you posted on how that progresses over this summer. My other project is keeping my husband from planting more milkweeds in my flower beds — now that he is retired he can make his very own wild bird/butterfly garden!
Nancy’s love of flower gardening intensified while living in Holland and was perfected with Master Gardener courses.