Building a Butterfly Garden

In addition to being beautiful objects of nature, Swallowtail butterflybutterflies provide essential pollination services to many flowering plants.   Butterflies are the adult stage of several families within the order Lepidoptera, including Papilionoidea or true butterflies, skippers or family Hesperioidea and moth butterflies from the family, Hedyloidea.

Butterflies have four development stages — egg, larvae, pupa and adult.   The larva or caterpillar stage provides food for young songbirds.   They may chew leaves from some of your garden plants.

The Monarch butterfly is the Texas state insect.   You can learn more about butterfly gardening from the Swallowtail Farms Butterfly site including a list and pictures of Texas Butterflies.

Information about moths and butterflies

Butterfly Garden at the DiG

The Butterfly garden at the DiG was a special project of the 4-H Club of Argyle.  Some of the butterfly attractors they planted were Verbena bonariensis (or Purpletop or Brazilian verbena), Bronze fennel, Red salvia, Yarrow “Moonshine”, Coreposis, Verbena (creeping), Rue, Purple coneflower and Butterfly weed.  Some of these plants provide nectar, while others offer nutrition for the butterflies in their leaves.   Here is how they described their activities:

Planning for the DiG Butterfly Garden



Step 1: Planning

First, we created our garden template, using paper.  At the extension office, Shelby K. led a workshop for 4-Her’s on butterflies and their host plants and what color flowers butterflies are most attracted to.  As a group, we talked about what kinds of butterflies we wanted to attract and made a list of them.


Paper layout of the DiG Butterfly Garden



Next, we discussed how we wanted the butterfly garden to look.  We decided what plants we wanted to use.  We used colored paper (a different color to represent the plant’s flower color) to decide where we wanted each plant to go.





   Step 2:  Planting

Planting individual plants from potsLayout of the garden bed



Initial planting complete












Step 3: Plant Markers

We made a plant marker for each different kind of plant at the garden using clay. We used stamps to make designs in the plant markers and then used colored glaze to add color.  For the head of the butterfly, we used two big rocks and for the antennae we used re-bar and on the ends of the re-bar we glued on some squished marbles.

Making signs for the garden

Butterfly Garden signsMaking Butterfly Garden signs












Step 4: The Finished Result

Newly planted butterfly garden

The blooming butterfly garden

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