Thursday, July 20, 2006

Gracie the Shutterbug

Here’s to the parents who encourage their kids to shoot for the moon.

Today’s photos are compliments of 5-year-old Gracie, from Edina, Minnesota.

This little shutterbug captured a swallowtail butterfly enjoying the sweet nectar of Purple Coneflowers* in her Mom’s garden.

Getting a butterfly to sit still is no easy task. Hats off to Gracie! And, Mom, Jane, who is teaching her daughters to capture butterflies on film, rather than catching them, and sticking them in a jar. Watching them fly free is a much nicer way to appreciate their beauty!

Nectar-rich blossoms, like the Purple Coneflower, will attract butterflies to your garden. Though chances are, this big swallowtail was born nearby. The best butterfly gardens offer plants that meet a butterfly's needs through all 4 life stages (egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult.) Figure out what type of butterflies frequent your area and then plant a little section of the yard to meet their needs. It's a great project to do with your kids!

Mother Swallowtails are particularly fond of parsley, carrots, and parsnips. If she spots these in your vegetable garden, you'll make a new friend, fast. She'll lay her eggs in the leaves so baby caterpillars are well-fed, once they enter the world. (Before you fuss about leaves being nibbled, think about what a great meal you're providing. Butterflies can't hurt our vegetable gardens, but we can hurt butterflies with one senseless application of pesticides.)

* Purple Coneflowers are available from Wild Flower Farms. Visit the Butterfly Site for tips and tricks on how to make your backyard a flutter of activity.

1 comment:

thismngardener said...

From Grace:
I like this butterfly, because it is beautiful and pretty cool. And this was when I had school, but I was off.
I hope you enjoy this, thank you, bye!