Native Plant Gardens are Alive

Butterfly Mint Bush, Monardella antonia, Photo: LasPilitasNursery, Santa Margarita, A

Butterfly Mint Bush, Monardella antonia with a Fritillary Butterfly, Photo by Las Pilitas Nursery

Okay, you have a beautiful garden full of colorful flowers.  Your garden design is well thought out. The beds wrap around your house in a pleasing way.  All of your neighbors enjoy walking past your front yard.  Yet, you feel something is missing… what could it be?

This is where wildlife gardening comes in.  Add one more element to your garden by inviting friends to share it— animals, birds and insect friends— their moving into your garden makes it come to life!  There’s nothing like watching the slow dance of butterflies above your flower blossoms from your garden bench!

Recently, I wrote about one community I visited that was full of manicured lawns and pretty roses but devoid of life … it was missing bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  The landscaping had no native plants to welcome them.  Luckily there are many native plants that make pretty additions to the garden with blooms that attract pollinators.  One such plant that has caught my attention is Monardella antonina, or Butterfly Mint Bush.

American Painted Lady Butterfly on Monardella antonina, Photo by Las Pilitas Nursery

American Painted Lady Butterfly on Monardella antonina, Photo by Las Pilitas Nursery

Monardella is native in the northern part of California.  Now California is a big state with many different ecosystems, so something that is marked as a California native might not be right for your particular area of California.  This plant does well at the Las Pilitas Nursery in Santa Margarita. I wanted to highlight this plant because it is a real worker all through the summer. Monardella attracts many different species of butterflies, as well as hummingbirds to your garden! Some of the butterflies include Fritillary, Pale Swallowtail and American Painted Lady. The nursery reports that Monarda is “worked constantly by every butterfly in our valley. Sometimes two or three on each blossom…” What a delightful picture that paints~

Wherever you live, there are plants native to your region that are beautiful butterfly magnets.  Look for nurseries that specialize in native plants, to be sure you buy plants native to your area, and ask how well they attract butterflies.  We have a comprehensive national list of native plant nurseries for you here.

Hoping you will join us and invite some new friends into your garden this Summer~

What do you have planted for wildlife this Summer? We would love to hear from you!

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  1. Susan says

    I have been gradually adding native-only beds to my property. I am not digging up and discarding my non-native perennials but pretty much anything new is native. This spring I planted several small WItchhazel, Hazelnut and Serviceberry trees. I grew Nodding Onion from seed and will plant them around my new patio. I also planted a good sized Sand Cherry. Trying again to grow the native Lupine but they are a challenge.

    Another challenge is trying to keep up with the invasives. My husband and I have worked for several years on cutting (and painting the stumps with herbicide) Autumn Olive and Buckthorn and Multiflora Rose. It can feel a bit overwhelming, but I already see the results in the woods of my efforts against Garlic Mustard.

    • says

      What part of the country do you garden in? So glad to hear you are adding native perennials + trees like Serviceberry. I wondered about your trouble with native lupine. Out here in SoCal, they are pretty easy. Thanks for sharing. Hope you get lots of winged friends this Summer!
      kathy vilim recently posted..Easter Sunrise Over the Pacific

  2. says

    Kathy I know what you mean…my garden has been so much better since the wildlife has teemed in especially the birds…this year the common wrens and the cedar waxwings are eating, nesting and frolicking in the garden right now…I am hoping for more butterflies as the natives are lonely for them.
    Donna Donabella recently posted..Seasonal Celebrations-Summer Scents

  3. Bob Vaiden says

    Well… I’ve added Blue Cohosh, Goldenseal, Black Cohosh (Fairy Candles), and added more Penstemon, Baptisia australis, Rudbeckia subtomentosa, Butterflyweed, Columbine, Elm-Leaf Goldenrod, Showy Goldenrod and others to the 100+ other species in the yard. It was a beautiful Spring bloom this year, and my Squirrel Corn bloomed for the first time : )

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