Last week in Atlanta, the Merchandise Mart hosted its annual gift show, with a whole floor dedicated to backyard birding. Spending a whole day there just wasn’t enough, I felt like a kid in a candy store and wanted everything!
Unfortunately, that’s far from possible, so the search was narrowed to very unique birding products, namely one, butterfly houses. Many of the standards were there, in cedar construction from small to large. A few recycled plastic (or poly lumber) butterfly houses were shown in some fab colors.
This one caught my eye however, likely because of the mod curved entrances. The copper accents were nice too, so I inquired. Upon learning these butterfly houses are hand crafted in solid cypress, and included the tall mounting poll, I was pretty much hooked.
At home I don’t have a butterfly house, but last summer there were tons of butterflies. Planting the host plant (milkweed) helped, but the leaf misters are what kept them around daily. Butterflies absolutely love the gentle spray from a leaf mister, whether they really use these houses or not…you can attract them with mist! By the way…Hummingbirds and others really love that mist during summer’s sweltering temperatures too!
Surprising to me, we had a wonderful butterfly season in the Atlanta area this year. I can’t recall a summer where so many had populated my yard. I know the two leaf misters were a huge attraction for them, along with some newly planted milkweed. Other flowers like lantana and abelia shrubs saw lots of action from these winged jewels too. There is no butterfly house in the yard, and I’ve always wondered whether or not butterflies really use them?
Some butterfly houses are like detailed works of art for the garden, they enhance and add a nice focal point to the area. The butterfly house shown here is constructed of durable red cedar, and the etched glass panels that catch light beautifully. It’s available as a hanging, or post mount model too.
But back to the question if butterflies really use butterfly houses or not?
A bit of research reveals the answer here:
They sure make some very pretty ones, whimsical and artsy types to use in the garden for accents or focal points. But do butterflies really use butterfly houses? I can’t answer that question, but never have I actually seen it happen. Protection from the elements and from predators are the reasoning behind it, and it makes perfect sense, but…who really knows?
I can say there are tons of butterflies in my yard now, hovering around the usual lantana and butterfly bush. The mature abelia with its tiny pink flowers seems to be a favorite as well. The big attraction for the flying jewels has got to be the leaf misters. There are two of them in the yard, one is simply staked in the ground with an old plant stake, and the other sits off the front porch attached to a deck bracket. Our butterflies absolutely love the gentle mist they produce. Flying through them all day in the extreme Georgia heat must be a relief for them. Lots of Swallowtails, we’re even seeing more Monarchs this year.