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Bird & Butterfly Garden

Posted by cahnrs.webteam | December 20, 2013


  • Specific butterfly-friendly features
  • Variety of sun-loving bird and butterfly attracting plants
  • No pesticides used

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This Garden was developed in 2000, with rearrangement of existing rocks and the addition of six truckloads of good soil. It took about three years for the perennial plants and shrubs to become established before the flowers bloomed, the spaces filled in, and birds and butterflies found a bountiful new home. To attract birds and butterflies, you need to offer food, water, and a place to hide. Easy as that! Following these few, simple tips below should have you enjoying not only the rooted flowers in your garden, but the flying ones as well.

Butterfly-friendly features include:

  • Rocks provide places for butterflies to sun themselves
  • Damp areas provide haven for butterflies from the heat
  • “Muddles”, like shallow birdbaths, allow butterflies to drink
  • Host plants provide places for egg-laying and food for baby caterpillars
  • Nectar plants provide food for adult butterflies

Plants that produce nectar are a food source for adult butterflies. Butterflies prefer flat flower heads where they can reach the nectar with their small proboscis, or nectar sucking tube. Asters, Joe Pye weed, butterfly bush, violets, ironweed, lantana, verbena, butterfly weed, and coreopsis are good nectar sources for butterflies. This garden also includes Jupiter’s beard, Russian sage, lavender, and hearty hibiscus. Native plants such as yarrow are also important for retaining the butterflies’ habitat.

Do you want to bring more birds to your yard? Perhaps you’ve already installed a bird feeder and bird bath, but there are other ways you can increase the variety and quantity of birds in your landscape. First, evaluate and identify the habitat elements that already exist in your yard or garden space. Look around your yard. Is there a pile of brush or low growing shrubs for birds and to hide from predators? Are there larger trees nearby; not just in your own yard, but in adjacent properties? Is there a constant source of water for drinking and bathing? Is there food for birds; not just what you put in a feeder, but fruiting plants and trees? Perhaps you’ve even left dead trees standing so woodpeckers can find food and build nest cavities. If you can spot these elements, you may already be providing some habitat for wildlife! Creating a bird habitat includes these steps:

  • Set up feeding stations by planting fruiting shrubs and flowers that produce seeds and fruit that birds love.
  • Provide water. Trickling or dripping water is best, but shallow dishes work well too. Keep the water supply fresh.
  • Give birds a place to hide by situating your feeding stations within about 50 feet of trees and shrubs.
  • Plant flowers with tubular blossoms for humming birds. You can also purchase a special humming bird feeder and fill it with a mixture of one part sugar to six parts water.

Be sure to clean all the bird feeders and bird bathes regularly. A good scrubbing with a stiff brush and plain old clean water will do the trick.

All the plants in this garden are sun loving. They require moderate watering, which is provided here through both drip and overhead irrigation. The sprinkler heads are raised high so that the water that’s sprayed won’t damage the blossoms. The watering systems supply water to the birdbath and butterfly water basins as well. A balanced fertilizer is applied once per year.  A variety of plants encourages a variety of butterflies as well as birds. No pesticides are used in this garden as they are lethal to butterflies.


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1620 S. Union
Kennewick, Washington

(In Kennewick’s Grange Park behind the Mid-Columbia Library)

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