Bird and Butterfly Paradise in Your Garden



Monarch butterfly.

Photo by Kurt Jacobson

As I watch an adult American Goldfinch feed a fluttering-demanding fledgling on my sunflowers, I recall when there were no such birds in my garden. Monarch and Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies often visit my flowers and help pollinate my crops. All of these beautiful winged marvels have descended in my yard since learning how to attract them.

I’ve been gardening in my backyard in Perry Hall, Maryland, for 11 years and learn so much with each passing year. I cringe at the thought that I used to peel caterpillars off my carrot tops and parsley then toss them in the field out back, not knowing they would become Swallowtail butterflies. Thanks to the Mother Earth News Facebook Group, I was informed the pesky caterpillars were one of my favorite butterflies. From then on, I learned to plant their favorite foods, dill, parsley, and carrots to attract them.

Early this season I was into my fourth year of treating the caterpillars well, then discovered several of my swallowtail caterpillars disappeared. I posted my sadness on the FB group and was told I could buy a butterfly tent to house my caterpillars that would get them through the caterpillar stage, chrysalis stage, and on to a winged beauty to set free to do as nature intended.

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