Bird & Butterfly Garden

Thank you for joining me in my garden in the making.

The Bird & Butterfly Garden was the first section, or bed, of my garden I created. I still call this section of my garden the Bird & Butterfly Garden although most of the beds I have added since then to my plot are planted with wildlife in mind. 

We moved into this house in October of 2007. The bottom row of the photo below shows the location in which I began the Bird & Butterfly Garden in our first Spring here in 2008. It is along the southern wall of our garage/workshop. The middle and top rows show the early stages of the plantings from Mid-to-Late-Summer of 2008.

Here is the same bed in the early Spring of 2009 (bottom row) and in Mid-Summer 2009.

And here is the bed in the Late-Spring of 2010. It has really filled in and now there is sprouting, unfurling, stretching, growing, and colors blooming each month of the summer from early spring into fall.

Summer of 2010. The mason bee house hanging on the garage wall is finally active. The plants have outgrown the original bird bath I had in place. I added a tall driftwood "sculpture" that I interpret to be a Blue Heron as they are common here along the river.

Late-Summer/Fall 2010. The joe-pye and perennial sunflowers are as tall as the top of the garage window. Now there are strong skeletons to stand through the winter for interest, many seeds to feed the winter birds, many stalks to house and protect insects.

The daffodils have begun to naturalize and the Spring of 2011 was a cheerful one, although very wet. Things are big and bold in the Bird & Butterfly garden. The Lady's Mantle's skirt is fuller and I am encouraging it to flow along the entire edge of this border. The sedums I tucked in the edge last year suffered with the wet Spring and were moved to different, dryer locations this Fall. Summer Nights is popping up everywhere but I certainly don't mind. The perennial Sunflowers were shorter than usual - I also think due to the extremely wet Spring - but still the stars of Fall. The grasses are now huge masses and give this border a hefty structure. We painted the garage / workshop very early this year a warmer color than the cold grey it was. The new color is a much nicer backdrop for the garden. 

The Black-eyed Susans are taking over, but they were an impressive display and I call this capture the Joe and Susan love affair. The Forsythia needs pruning. The Butterfly Bush will be moved in the Spring to a different location. It was buried beneath the Forsythia and Baptisia this year and I'm not sure if it even bloomed.

Here you can see how the Forsythia (yellow, upper right) has really filled in. I will only prune some of the new canes to thin it out a bit and any lower canes that may take root in the ground. I like the natural fountain shape of this shrub and refuse to clip it into a "Max Headroom head." 

This border, as always, was buzzing all Summer long. A new sighting of a White Admiral Butterfly was one of the highlights. I will need to fabricate, or acquire a new Mason Bee house for next year. It was full this year and I think the birds picked out most of the mud plugs near its surface. The mint is creeping, as mint will do, but such an attraction for all pollinators that I only reign it in a little.

I admit, I neglected this bed this year but you can hardly tell. By the time I could pay attention to this section of the garden, it was already in full jungle swing and too dense for mulching or weeding. Tending to the Bird &  Butterfly garden will be my top priority come Spring 2012.

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Plant List for Bird & Butterfly Garden
by Common Name:
Aster 'Jim Crockett', Boltonia asteroides
Beardtongue 'Husker Red', Penstemon digitalis
Bee Balm
Black-eyed Susan
Black Mullein, Verbascum nigrum
Butterfly Bush 'Black Knight', Buddleia davidii
Common Yarrow
Cranesbill Geranium
Evening Primrose
False Indigo 'Twilite Prairieblues', Baptisia x variicolor
Forsythia 'Meadow Lark'
Joepye Weed
Lady's Mantle
Lemon Balm
Maiden Grass 'Morning Light', Miscanthus sinesis
Oxeye 'Summer Nights', Heliopsis helianthoides
Perennial Sunflower, Helianthus Microcephalus
Purple Coneflower
Spider Wort 'Osprey', Tradescantia andersoniana (from Jean's Garden!)
Switch Grass 'Dallas Blues', Panicum
Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata


  1. dear Cathy, your garden is looking lovely, and I'm not a bee or butterfly so you know self interest doesn't motivate me to say this! Not only am I impressed with the garden, I am impressed by the organization needed for the before and afters. I struggle to organize the photos as they accumulate in huge numbers ... cheers, catmint

  2. Nice garden. I like seeing the progress of a wildlife garden.

    1. Thank you Gloria for taking the time to stop by and visit. Can't wait to see what wildlife shows up in the garden this year!


Thank you for joining me in my garden in the making!

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