Baxter County Master Gardener Program • University of Arkansas System • Division of Agriculture • © 2013 BCMG
WHAT IS A BIRD AND BUTTERFLY GARDEN?
Bird and butterfly gardens preserve natural communities by providing homes for some of the most beautiful, winged members of our ecosystem. The native wildflowers chosen for your garden will provide hours of enjoyment for you while they support all life stages of butterflies (from egg to caterpillar. to pupa, to adult) and furnish food and shelter for birds. Some of these perennial plants will bloom all season and into the fall. They grow here naturally so, in addition to being beautiful, they are hardy and low maintenance.
HOW DO I MAKE A BIRD AND BUTTERFLY GARDEN?
It's easy! Just follow these simple steps:
1. Choose a sunny site out of the wind. Butterflies prefer feeding in areas where they don't have to fight air currents.
Well-drained soils are preferred, but native plants are so adaptable that almost any soil type will do. If your soil
is heavy clay, you may wish to add organic matter like peat or composted manure, available at any home or
2. Form the basic shape of your Bird and Butterfly garden by outlining it with a garden hose or some rope. The size and
shape of your garden is up to you.
3. Remove the grass and sod with a shovel and place it in your compost bin or reuse it in bare spots in your yard.
in bare spots in your yard.
4. The garden can be raised a couple of inches with soil or planted directly
into the existing grade. If you add soil, be sure to work it in with the
with the existing materials,
5. Plant native plants that hold a strong attraction for birds and butterflies.
Plants should be spaced about one foot apart in a grid pattern.
Insert plant tags next to each group of species for quick identification
6. Mulch the area (2" to 3" thick) to help keep weeds down and hold in
moisture. Make sure to keep the mulch away from the base of each
7. Water every other day (unless it rains) until the plants show new growth and are well established, which
usually takes about two weeks.
8. Once your native Bird and Butterfly Garden plants are established, they'll thrive without additional watering or
fertilizers. In addition, only minimal weeding will be needed. Short weekly stints of about 15 minutes will make
A Few Tips:
To attract even more birds, place a purple martin, bluebird or wren house near by.
Place natural rocks or other garden ornaments in and around your Bird and Butterfly Garden.
Be creative! You'll learn and have fun while designing your own backyard landscape.
Excerpt from Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries
Projects to improve your garden, landscape, or just for the fun of it.