Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Bountiful Butterfly Garden
Created and maintained by The Putnam County Master Gardeners


A butterfly garden is a garden with a special emphasis on supporting and encouraging butterflies.  Many people have heard of the recent decline in butterfly populations, due to several reasons, including loss of habitat due to increased population, indiscriminate use of harmful pesticides, and climate change.  A concerted effort is underway by many people to provide increased food supplies, safe habitat, and cover and food for the larvae and butterflies. The garden should provide host plants for the caterpillars and nectar plants for the adults.  An example would be 10 milkweeds and 10 nectar plants including asters and goldenrods.  Butterflies also like flat rocks to rest on and wet sand or puddles to drink water and obtain minerals.   It is actually easy and fun to create a butterfly garden and a great way to introduce children to the beauty of nature and the value of garden.

What are good plants for a butterfly garden? An example of plants can be found in our butterfly garden, and include the following:

Achillea  ‘Coronation Gold’ –Yarrow (Perennial) Yellow blooms from June – September. Good nectar plant.
Achillea ‘Strawberry Seduction’ - Yarrow (Perennial) strawberry-red flowers, each with a tiny yellow eye bloom from early summer to early fall.  A nectar source.
Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed – A drought tolerant perennial plant which functions as a food source for  Monarch larvae and also a nectar source for numerous butterflies. Fragrant, pinkish -purple flowers appear over a long bloom period from late spring well into summer.
Asclepias incarnata Rose or Swamp Milkweed - (Perennial) Flowers are very attractive to butterflies as a nectar source and food for the larval stage of Monarch butterflies. Pink to mauve flowers bloom July-August.
Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’ Butterfly Weed- (Perennial) Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and leaves are a food source for monarch butterfly larvae (caterpillars).  Hello Yellow has yellow flowers and tuberose has orange flowers.
Aster novi-belgii ‘Alert’ (Perennial) Densely packed clusters of deep purplish-red flowers bloom from late summer into fall and are a great nectar source when many plants are not blooming.
Buddleia davidii ‘Buzz Purple’ Butterfly Bush – (perennial shrub) A dwarf butterfly bush that is 1/3 the size of standard butterfly bushes. The deep purple flowers provide nectar for butterflies from summer through fall.
Echinacea tennesseenis Tennessee Purple Coneflower – Native to Tennessee. A perennial flower originally found only in cedar glades in central Tennessee. Echinacea are a favorite nectar source for many butterflies. Purple rays with coppery-orange center cones bloom from June – August.
Echinacea purpurea Purple Coneflower ‘Double Decker’ - Second-year plants produce a large magenta-pink daisies with a second smaller flower produced on top of each dark brown central cone. Blooming starts in midsummer and continues for weeks. A perennial nectar plant.
Echinacea purpurea 'Rubinstern' ‘Ruby Star’  (perennial – nectar source)– Flowers are carmine red to purple rays with bronze-brown cones bloom June – August.  
Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus” - has broad non-drooping petals of rosy purple surrounding a dark cone. Blooms June- August.
Echinacea purpurea 'Balsomsed' Sombrero Salsa Red- (perennial nectar source) A compact, upright coneflower with sturdy stems that do not need staking. Orange-red rays with orange brown center cone bloom from June- August.
Eupatorium maculatum ‘Phantom’ Joe Pye Weed –A a perennial with a compact growth habit compared to the species makes it an ideal choice for smaller gardens; features fluffy plumes of lavender-purple flowers. A great nectar source for butterflies.
Foeniculum vulgare  ‘Rubrum’ Bronze Fennel   a perennial herb but typically grown as an annual. The herb has attractive purplish-tinted foliage and yellow summer flowers which are attractive to butterflies. Fennel is also a host plant for certain swallowtail butterflies.
Lantana camara ‘Bante cheriasun’ Lantana Bandana Cherry Sunrise (Annual)  A nectar source for many butterfly species. its flowers combine 4 colors: yellow centers, followed by rings of apricot, pink, and an outer circle of bright crimson.
Liatris ‘Blazing Star’ a perennial native wildflower nectar plant. Plants form a low clump of grassy looking leaves, bearing tall spikes of bright magenta-purple flowers in July-August.
Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum Flat leaf Italian Parsley is a biennial herb that is typically grown as an annual. It is a host plant for Swallowtail butterflies.
Zinnias ‘Profusion Varieties’ in Coral, Pink , Orange, and Yellow and ‘ Zahara Red’ (Annual) Highly prolific bloomers, each variety in the Zinnia Profusion series produces masses of 2" semi-double flowers on mid-height plants. Blooms all summer long.
Tagetes patula French Marigolds an annual plant with Yellow, orange, red and bicolor flowers that adult butterfly love as a nectar source.
Our garden has been certified as a ‘Monarch Waystation’. Further information on how you can certify your yard can be found at http://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations/certify.html.  
Putnam County Master Gardeners are ready to assist and answer any questions.  Good luck with Butterfly Gardening!

Documents on Butterfly Gardening  

Click on links below to open in your browser or download

 The Bountiful Butterfly Garden Handout
North American Butterfly Association Central Tennessee Butterfly Plants 
UT Extension Publication PB1636 BUtterfly Gardening

Monarch Waystation Information

Monarch Waystation Guide 
Monarch Waystation Requirements 

For more information go to the Putnam County Master Gardener website at: http://www.pcmg-tn.org/

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Article from website Dave’s Garden

A Guide To Gifting Herbs
by Anna Burke (Anna Burke) December 7, 2015
·        Give a gift that keeps on giving this year.
Herbs make the perfect gift choice for gardeners, chefs and even loved ones without a green thumb. These attractive plants are aromatic and practical, offering culinary and medicinal uses for every home. Choosing the right herbal gift can be tricky. Let this herbal gift guide help you make the right choice this holiday season.
Choosing The Perfect Herb For The Gardener
Giving a gardener a plant is a recognition of their passion and shows your appreciation for the friendship you share. Herbs provide tasteful, aromatic plantings for ornamental gardens and offer a culinary treat for the vegetable gardener. Some gardeners enjoy making herbal teas and remedies with their herbs. You might even find yourself the beneficiary of a handmade herbal sachet in future holidays if you gift the right herbs to your gardening friends.
Here are the best herbs to give as gifts for gardeners this year.
11 Herbs For Vegetable Gardeners
Vegetable gardeners appreciate useful herbs. They want herbs that complement their fresh produce, like:
  1. Basil
  2. Dill
  3. Chives
  4. Coriander
  5. Parsley
  6. Mint
  7. Thyme
  8. Sage
  9. Tarragon
  10. Oregano
  11. Rosemary
Depending on where your gardener friend lives, these plants might need to spend the winter indoors. Take a moment to read up on the herb's cold tolerance. If your climate is too cold for the herb, put in in an attractive pot. That way your friend can keep it indoors or in a greenhouse during the cold months.
12 Herbs For Ornamental Gardeners
Ornamental gardeners appreciate aromatic herbs and herbs that attract beneficial insects. Many of these herbs boast interesting textures and attractive blossoms. Here are 12 herbs that bring subtle beauty to the garden, occupying sometimes difficult to fill niches:
  1. Lemon balm
  2. Lavender
  3. Thyme
  4. Chamomile
  5. Sage
  6. Catmint
  7. Sweet cicely
  8. Dill
  9. Anise hyssop
  10. Garlic chives
  11. Borage
Try and choose a plant that is suitable for your friend's climate. You can put it in a pot until spring, but the ornamental gardener in your life will want to incorporate your herb into their garden design.
12 Herbs For Container Gardeners
Herbs make excellent container plants. Some, like mint, are best cultivated in containers to prevent the plant from spreading. Your container gardening loved one will appreciate most herbs, but especially those that do well in pots. Consider accompanying your gift with a new herb planter.
Try one of these 12 herbs for container gardeners:
  1. Basil
  2. Chives
  3. Cilantro
  4. Rosemary
  5. Tarragon
  6. Lavender
  7. Lemon balm
  8. Marjoram
  9. Mint
  10. Sage
  11. Thyme
  12. Oregano
Choosing The Perfect Herb For The Chef
Every good chef knows the value of fresh ingredients. Give your chef friends a potted herb to spice up their recipes this year. With any luck, they'll even invite you over for dinner. Here are 10 mouthwatering culinary herbs the chef in your life is guaranteed to love.
1. Basil
Basil is the primary ingredient in every pasta lover's favorite treat - pesto. Basil flourishes year round in a windowsill and is delicious when served as a garnish, slathered in olive oil atop tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese, or ground into pesto.
2. Oregano
Another Italian classic, oregano is a staple in sauces, soups, and seasonings.
3. Chives
Chives add a taste similar to garlic and onions but packaged in crisp, green shoots that bring out the flavors in soups, fish, potatoes, and other vegetables.
4. Cilantro
No Mediterranean dish or salsa is complete without a hint of cilantro. Plus, the plant's seeds, known as coriander, are another culinary seasoning no respectable chef goes long without.
5. Parsley
Parsley is called for in many meat and vegetable dishes. Its subtle flavor complements any dish it is paired with.
6. Peppermint
There is more to peppermint than its role as the key ingredient in a mojito. Peppermint tea and peppermint hot chocolate provide necessary comfort drinks during the cold months. This tried and true perennial favorite pots up nicely for the kitchen windowsill.
7. Rosemary
If there are lamb fans in your circle, rosemary is the gift to give. Rosemary is a primary ingredient in many meat dishes, and it also comes in tasteful Christmas tree shapes this time of year.
8. Sage
Poultry, sausage, and sauces wouldn't be the same without the leaves of this herb. Sage is not only tasty, it is beautiful, making it a decorative accent as well as an essential seasoning.
9. Tarragon
The anise-like flavor of tarragon adds zest to poultry, egg, vegetable and seafood dishes.
10. Thyme
Everyone needs a little more thyme in their lives. Chefs add thyme to soups, stocks, and sauces to add its subtle flavor to the dish.
Giving Herbs To Friends With Black Thumbs
Not everyone has a green thumb. Gardeners tend to forget that some of our beloved family and friends might not share our passion for plants. Giving a living thing as a holiday present comes with a commitment. Your friend will feel obligated to keep the plant alive, and might even feel guilt if it dies.
It is your responsibility to make caring for the herb you give them as easy as possible. There are three ways you can do this:
  1. Choose a hardy herb
  2. Provide a plant pot
  3. Include care instructions
Hardy Herbs
Choose a hardy perennial herb for your black-thumbed loved ones like one of these 6 herbs:
  1. Rosemary
  2. Sage
  3. Thyme
  4. Lemon balm
  5. Mint
  6. Lavender
Plant Pots
Whether its over watering or underwatering, water is usually the cause of a plant's demise. Consider purchasing a self-watering plant pot to accompany your herbal gift to take the pressure off of your friend.
Care Instructions
You don't want to sound condescending, but you do want to give your friend a little "care card." Let them know if the herb likes shade or sun, requires frequent or infrequent waterings, and most importantly, how to harvest clippings.
While you're shopping for herbs, pick a few up for yourself to brighten up your home and garden in the new year.
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About Anna Burke
Anna Burke has been farming and gardening for over 6 years. She graduated from Smith College with a degree in English Literature. A few months after graduation she started a small sheep farm in Upstate New York with her partner. Anna enjoys growing vegetables and raising livestock.