Today I was surrounded by butterflies. I watched several feed from our lantana flowers and from our native plants near the mailbox. (above photo) Later I was plant shopping and several landed on the plants in my cart. (photo to the left)
It is hard not to smile when you are watching a butterfly. They are beautiful and they are sipping nectar from flowers. My heart always feels lighter when they are fluttering around.
The orange one above is a frittillary butterfly and they are special to me because I discovered the caterpillars before ever having seen the butterflies and they are amazing. They look kind of punk rock and have tiny black spikes all over. (photo below) They feed from passionflower vines which are gorgeous and exotic. I was in awe the first time I saw one bloom.
In return for all the joy they give us it is so easy to fill our gardens with plants they need to survive, including native ones and sometimes even flowers some would consider "weeds." Even if it is only a flowerbox outside the window or a fire escape style balcony- consider keeping some plants that host caterpillars and feed butterflies and other insects. (and very important- refrain from using pesticides on these so they truly are safe havens for butterflies.) Here is a link with some resources regarding gardening for butterflies and other pollinators such as bees and birds. http://www.nwf.org/Pollinators/Pollinator-Decline.aspx