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Butterfly gardening has become an incredibly popular activity. It is so easy, because all it requires is a little space and a few carefully chosen plants. It can be an extremely rewarding activity to carry out with children, who can experience hands-on science at its best while learning about topics like pollination, insect life cycles, and weather. We are so excited about it that we are going to devote a week of blog posts to butterfly gardening with children.

butterfly-gardening-with-children

Our schedule:

Monday: The basics of butterfly gardening with children.

Tuesday: Figure out the five Mystery Seeds that will become great butterfly garden plants.

Edit:  The answers are now posted. See five great nectar plants for butterfly gardens.

Wednesday:  Identifying Butterflies for Beginners (with activity suggestions)

Thursday:  Pollination and butterflies (with activity suggestions)

Friday:  Adding trees to your butterfly garden.

We made it through the week!

 

Growing Resource List:

Butterfly and Moth Activities at Growing with Science website.

Butterfly Project has information about starting a butterfly garden.

Butterfly science activities here at Growing with Science blog

The North American Butterfly Association (NABA) has an extensive list of plants for butterfly gardens.

All about monarch butterflies and their migrations at Journey North

More about identifying butterflies at Gardens With Wings

See our list of fabulous children's books about butterflies and moths at Science Books for Kids.

 

Please join us and feel free to add links to your own posts, any questions, or ideas for topics about butterfly gardening with children in the comments.

 

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While picking lemons yesterday morning, I noticed something bright yellow on a leaf.

sulphur-butterfly

It wasn't a lemon, but a bright yellow-orange butterfly.

I believe it is a Large Orange Sulphur, Phoebis agarithe, which would make sense because we have at least two of the potential host plants in our yard:  desert fern, Lysiloma watsonii and possibly Senna. I will definitely be on the look out for caterpillars in the next few weeks.

Anyway, you can get great butterfly photographs in butterfly houses, but it is even more exciting to catch one resting free.

Do you have sulphur butterflies where you live?

Did anyone spot something unusual in the caterpillar photos last week? No?

butterfly egg

Does this help? I have circled a butterfly egg on the underside of the milkweed flower bud. It is probably a queen butterfly egg, although it might also be a monarch. Both types have been visiting the plant.

In fact, the queens and monarchs were having what seemed to be aerial "battles" over the rush milkweed plant. One butterfly would be resting on the plant and another would fly nearby. The butterfly on the plant would fly up to meet the interloper and they would flutter around each other. Shortly one, usually the visitor, would fly off quickly. I had read that butterflies can be territorial, but I hadn't seen it in action before.

Speaking of butterfly territory, I had the opportunity to visit the Tucson Botanical Gardens last weekend. The garden has an exhibit they call Butterfly Magic.

tucson-butterfly-magic-1

This particular exhibit is not large, but has a number of different species of butterflies.

tucson-botanical-magic-2

The longer I looked, the more different kinds I saw.

butterfly-on-foot

Even on my shoe.

butterfly-101

The flowers were not shabby either.

Have you been to a butterfly exhibit? Where is your favorite?