|Since the middle of the 20th century, the increasing and indiscriminate use of pesticides, combined with accelerated habitat loss, have dealt butterfly populations two heavy blows.
By planting a butterfly garden, you can help them while enjoying both their beauty and that of wildflowers. Depending upon your ambition and resources, and the space that you can make available, your butterfly garden can range in size from a few window boxes or a patio border up to a full-blown meadow.
Your first step should be to take a survey of public gardens, parks, meadows, vacant lots, and similar sunny places around your home during spring, summer, and fall and, with the aid of field guides, identify the plants that are already attracting butterflies to the area. These should form the basis of your garden, and to them you can add food plants listed in the butterfly guides for those species normally found in your region that you would like to attract but have not observed.
To maximize the effective season of your butterfly garden, select plants with overlapping blooming periods.