Skip to main content

Helping butterflies and bringing back the prairie

I live in Minnesota. Those of you who live elsewhere may think of us as cold and snowy, but there's much wonderful green and beautiful parkland to enjoy during the warmer months. Minnesota's prairie is what sold me on moving here, but less than 2% of the native prairie is left! Farming, like in many states, has taken a toll on natural landscapes, as has city expansion and housing developments. In the early 20th century, preserving and restoring the native landscape became a "thing," but it takes far longer to restore than it does to destroy. Farming is necessary and critical to our livelihood, but there are steps that everyone can take to help the environment and keep certain species from becoming extinct.

We have a tiny plot of land that is mostly house with a steep hill and tiny front yard. When we bought the house, there were a few simple plants, but most weren't a good fit for their location and either died off or aren't thriving. We need to do a good deal of landscaping in the next couple of years to prevent erosion of our hill and better handle runoff, but it's expensive. Add to that the cost of plants, even native plants, and we're looking at a very long and slow process.

While we save for the bigger projects, we're taking tiny steps to help butterflies, bumblebees, and to reduce the amount of water we use in our non-edible gardens. Eventually, we're planning to install a raingarden with help from a local grant to reimburse some of the costs, but for now, it's baby steps.

There were two huge prickly bushes along the sidewalk in front of the electrical boxes. They had to go, both for safety and for aesthetic reasons. After we pulled them out, I amended the soil and put in several young native plants.



Since it could be 2-3 years before they're full and lush, I added three gayfeather plants for a pop of color. When they're all grown, it will be pink and purple and a mecca for our bumblebees and butterflies.


The area around our tree is the beginning of a butterfly waystation. We have a basking rock, lots of flowers, shade areas and sunny areas, and places for caterpillars to do their thing. It's still an immature garden, but I expect it will look pretty full by next July. Some of the natives are from just after I bought the house, so nearly two years old and finally getting full. I'll be moving some flowering plants from elsewhere to fill out the area in front of the rock before the cold sets in. The only thing we're not adding is standing water for butterflies to drink. I'll probably spritz the flowers for water beads on hot days instead.

If you want to learn more about creating a butterfly garden, there are great resources through the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Zoo.

Here a few plant types if you'd like to get started:

  • Aster
  • Sunflowers
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Violets
  • Phlox
  • Lavender
  • Milkweed

These offer a nice variety of color and size. Be sure to plant several of each type so the butterflies will notice their preferred plant. Different butterflies each like certain plants more than others, so a nice variety will bring in more species.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Pottery Barn Kids Lunch Bags: Cute, but Annoying

When my daughter transitioned to "big kid school" this fall, I bought her a personalized lunch bag from Pottery Barn Kids. This was our first time having to send lunch to school, so I wanted her to enjoy carrying the bag and also have it be practical. She's just turning 4, so it was important that she be able to open the bag herself and carry it from the car to the lunch cart without assistance.

Pottery Barn Kids offers a slew of fabric patterns and four bag styles. Penny picked the MacKenzie Chocolate Zebra classic lunch bag, which is a fairly standard size and shape lunch box. We paid $7 to have her name embroidered on the bag, which I figured was worth the price to ensure her box isn't mixed up with another kid's lunch. I let Penny pick the font and thread color and ordered online.

Our classic lunch bag has now been used every weekday for nearly three months, but it looks more like a year old. It's still functional in that Penny can carry it in to school, o…

Switching from Olay Regenerist to L'Oreal RevitaLift

I've been using Olay Regenerist DNA Superstructure UV Cream for years now. I love the SPF 25 (it's now 30) the thick moisturizing quality, and how fresh my skin feels once it's absorbed. It's really thick, so it tends to need more time before I put on foundation, and it does leave my skin a touch lighter than it is in real life. The sunscreen ingredients mean this moisturizer smells just like traditional sun protection, and even a bit like my daughter's diaper cream (ick), but I know it's doing it's job and I've been really happy with it.


I intended to buy some more during a trip to Walmart today, but L'Oreal RevitaLift Triple Power Day Lotion had a $2 off coupon attached, and the base price was less than the Olay product, so I took a chance and bought  the RevitaLift instead.


L'Oreal's bottle is prettier with a similar pump mechanism. Like Olay, the product is in an opaque container, which helps keep the contents from being affected by ligh…

eSalon.com Hair Color Review

It's now May 2014 and since my original review, I've had a chance to fly out to eSalon and see how orders are processed, learn the right way to apply color, and find out the differences between box color and eSalon color. I learned a lot and have a totally different perspective now and would definitely recommend giving eSalon a try.

When you order from eSalon, be sure to upload a current, well-lit photo of your hair and don't hesitate to ask their color experts for advice. The eSalon team are experts. Let them help you find the right shade and apply color correctly. It's a learning process if you're used to box color products.

Last August, I tried eSalon. At the time, I found the color was fine in that it was even and matched what I had seen online for that shade, but it wasn't really what I was going for. eSalon's customer service was helpful, with a colorist calling to explain how their product differs from what I buy in-store and the risks of going darke…