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How to: Butterfly Gardening


You can easily enjoy the graceful beauty of butterflies in your garden year after year with the proper selection of their favorite plants. All butterflies begin as caterpillars and must spend this phase of their life eating, so resist the urge to reach for insecticide. Caterpillars have very specific food needs provided by plants- known as HOST PLANTS. Only when the required host plants are available can they grow and weave the cocoon in which they will transform into beautiful butterflies. Adult butterflies are usually less particular in their choice of food and are attracted to a variety of brightly colored and fragrant plants - known as NECTAR PLANTS. Plan you butterfly garden in a warm, sunny spot protected from the wind and add a shallow container of water and a few large, flat stones for the butterflies to rest and warm themselves on.

NECTAR PLANTS (to attract butterflies)

Flowers: - Aster • Butterfly Weed • Centranthus • Coneflowers • Coreopsis • Cosmos• Daisies • Gaillardia • Joe-Pye Weed • Lantana • Liatris • Monarda • Pentas • Petunias • Phlox • Pineapple Sage • Primrose • Rudbeckia • Sedum” Autumn Joy • Sweet William • Verbena • Veronica • Zinnia

Shrubs - Butterfly Bush • Clethra • Glossy Abelia • Ligustrum • Lilac • Mock Orange • Weigela

HOST PLANTS (caterpillar food)

Flowers - Baptisia Australis • Broccoli • Butterfly Weed • Cleome • Clover • Dill • Everlasting • Fennel • Glove Thistle • Hollyhock • Mallow • Milkweed • Mints • Parsley • Rue • Snapdragons • Stinging Nettle • Violets

Shrubs - Anise • Spicebush

Trees - Black Locust • *Black Willow • Elm • *Hackberry • *Sassafrass • Tulip Poplar Tree • *Wild Cherry

*Denotes native plants frequently found existing in this area.

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Celebrate Perennials. Celebrate Summer.

Summer is a great time to celebrate! We celebrate dads, we celebrates grads and even the flag. So, why not celebrate those wonderful perennials that come back each year in the garden?

Perennials are considered to be ornamental plants that do not die after one season of growth. This does not mean they live forever, however, they do offer a repeat performance for several seasons. The term perennial is generally reserved for plants with showy flowers, excluding ornamental grasses and other plants mainly grown for their foliage. The term herbaceous perennial further narrows the group to plants with soft, green stems that die back to the ground in colder climates. Trees, shrubs and other woody stemmed plants are excluded.

We love planting perennials in the landscape. They can create a border, focal point, accent or even fill a container. They are a source of back-ground in color and size and provide an abundance of cut flowers. With so many colors to choose from, there is one that is perfectly suited for your garden.

In the garden center now are some of our faves:

Mexican Petunia (Ruellia Purple Showers)
This beautiful, long blooming perennial thrives in hot, sunny conditions. Deep green foliage with hints of burgundy provide the perfect backdrop for the scores of vibrant blue-purple flowers. Works well in combination plantings, in borders, or in pots.

Coreopsis Moonbeam
Enjoy creamy-yellow blooms all summer long! This perennial loves the sun but tolerates some shade. The daisy-like flower is lovely in the garden or in containers. So versatile, yet so simple to grow!

Homestead Purple Verbena
This tough perennial is another great heat and drought tolerant plant that blooms continuously throughout the summer. Beautiful deep purple flowers bloom from spring until frost. Excellent as groundcover, in mixed color bowls, borders or in the landscape. Trying pairing with yellows or orange for vibrant color.

Miss Huff Lantana
Vibrant yellow, pink & orange blooms with light green foliage - you simply can't beat lantana for summer-long blooms and heat tolerance. This easy to grow perennial attracts butterflies too. Plant in full sun or light shade. As it is a spiller, this is a great plant for containers.

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Beaming with Summer Flowers


Coreopsis, also known as Tickseed, is a native flowering plant that is right at home in Hampton Roads. Coreopsis Moonbeam is a daintier variety than traditional coreopsis. We love its whispy foliage topped with creamy, daisy-like flowers. Easy to grow and even easier to love, this perennial will give you blooms June through August with repeat flowers up until fall’s first frost. This plant is lovely in flowerbeds, raised beds and in summer containers. It is especially beautiful paired with other summer blooming perennials such as daylilies, coneflowers, salvia and guara.

Moonbeam performs best in full sun but will tolerate some shade. Once established it is drought tolerant and even better, this plant is seaside and salt tolerant making it an ideal additional seaside landscapes. It also is deer resistant.

McDonald Tip: Coreopsis will spread slowly, but like lots of perennials, we suggest dividing it about every two to three years to keep it growing year after year. To divide, we suggest digging up the clump and using a spade or sharp shovel to make divisions about the size of your fist and then re-planting each piece in the garden.


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