How to make a Butterfly Garden

Throughout history, butterflies have been a subject of fascination for child and adult alike.  Many ancient civilizations believed that butterflies were symbols of the human spirit. The Greeks believed that a new human spirit was born every time a butterfly emerged from its cocoon. They used the same word “psyche” for both butterflies and the spirit. Butterflies were also seen as symbols of joy and the essence of happiness. 

Ancient Europeans believed that the human spirit embodied the form of a butterfly and saw them with great respect and sometimes even fear. Born of a cocoon caterpillar, butterflies were also a symbol of the rebirth, regeneration, happiness, and joy of Indigenous peoples in Mexico.

Roald Dahl once said “those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”. Butterflies are truly magical beings. Their fluttering wings leave tiny vibrations and are believed to make plants happier. When butterflies are present, you know your on the right track with your garden.

Butterflies have been around for over 50 million years and they evolved at least 150 million years ago. The butterfly undergoes a complete metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is the process by which the caterpillar disappears into a cocoon and later emerges as a butterfly or moth. To this day, the mechanism of metamorphosis of caterpillars (and the human psyche) remains a mystery to science.

Planning your butterfly garden

Butterflies are an integral part of the ecosystem. Their main function in nature is the pollination of flowers and, consequently the production of fruits and seeds. Sadly butterflies are in danger! They are very fragile to environmental changes caused by things such as pollution, deforestation and climate change. Butterflies are recognised as indicators of biodiversity and a sign of a healthy environment.  The disappearance of these beautiful and magical creatures is serious.

Attract these fantastic creatures to your garden through simple design techniques and of course by planting the right flowers.

Butterfly haven

So call in the magic!

  • Choose an area in your garden that is sheltered from wind.
  • Plant caterpillar food or host plants which includes native plants and colourful flowers full of nectar. Butterflies like pink, white and red flowers. Check the list below.
  • Plant flowers with a flat surface to make it easier for butterflies to land.  They are attracted to the colours red, yellow, orange, pink, purple and blue colours.
  • Place water in the garden. Either a small pond or a tray of water. 
  • Add some flat rocks for when the butterflies want to bask in the sun.
  • Stagger the planting of flowers so butterflies have food all year round.
  • Never use pesticides even biological ones in your butterfly garden as you may kill your guests.

    Moths and butterflies have a fine powder on their wings which help them fly.  Never pick up butterflies by the wings as you may damage their wings. BUZZ: Downloadable PDF to learn more about butterflies and moths!

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Laila Helena is a BHSc Naturopath who has had a lifetime of sustainable living and Permaculture. She teaches people to be self-reliant and live consciously. The possibility of a sustainable planet has inspired her to create a business that works towards this sustainable future.

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