Four out of four Great Spangled Fritillaries prefer NABA Certified Butterfly Gardens.

Four out of four Great Spangled Fritillaries prefer NABA Certified Gardens.

Four out of four Great Spangled Fritillaries prefer NABA Certified Gardens.

Actually butterflies probably do not care if you certify your butterfly garden with NABA.

NABA certified butterfly gardeners may purchase an outdoor, weatherproof certification sign with a Monarch image if their gardens contain at least one milkweed plant.

NABA certified butterfly gardeners may purchase an outdoor, weatherproof certification sign with a Monarch image if their gardens contain at least one milkweed plant.

But if you care about increasing the amount of gardens that protect and promote butterflies, displaying a NABA certified butterfly garden sign in your garden helps to let others know that butterflies need our help. Your sign is a conversation starter with neighbors who might want to join with you by creating their own gardens. Having a sign posted in your garden is just one of the ways that each person can help educate others about the need for butterfly habitat.

NABA certified butterfly gardeners may purchase an outdoor, weatherproof certification sign with a Swallowtail image  that is suitable for all types of butterfly gardens.

NABA certified butterfly gardeners may purchase an outdoor, weatherproof certification sign with a Swallowtail image that is suitable for all types of butterfly gardens.

Garden signs are available when garden certification is applied for. There are two styles of signs available, one with an image of a Swallowtail and one with an image of a Monarch.

Learn more about NABA’s butterfly garden certification program at NABA’s Garden Certification Program

Or to certify your garden right now see: Certify Your Garden Online Now!

Have you already certified your butterfly garden with NABA? We would love to see a photo of your sign in your garden!

Tropical Milkweed and the Injurious Effects of Well-Meaning People from American Butterflies magazine

Tropical Milkweed American ButterfliesThe latest issue of NABA’s member publication American Butterflies is in the mail!

Featured in this issue of American Butterflies is an article discussing Tropical Milkweed and its effect on Monarchs. Despite widely distributed public opinions to the contrary, we suggest that you don’t give up on Tropical Milkweed just yet.

Read the full article at: Tropical Milkweed and the Injurious Effects of Well-Meaning People

 

Certify your Monarch garden with North American Butterfly Association

NABA certified butterfly gardeners may purchase an outdoor, weatherproof certification sign with a Monarch image if their gardens contain at least one milkweed plant.

NABA certified butterfly gardeners may purchase an outdoor, weatherproof certification sign with a Monarch image if their gardens contain at least one milkweed plant.

Did you know that most of the gardeners who have certified their butterfly gardens with NABA include milkweed in their list of plants?

In response to the overwhelming popularity of gardening for Monarchs, NABA has added a second outdoor, waterproof sign to its butterfly garden certification program! Certified butterfly gardeners who wish to display this sign should grow at least one type of milkweed in their garden.

NABA certified butterfly gardeners may purchase an outdoor, weatherproof certification sign with a Swallowtail image  that is suitable for all types of butterfly gardens.

NABA certified butterfly gardeners may purchase an outdoor, weatherproof certification sign with a Swallowtail image that is suitable for all types of butterfly gardens.

When you certify your garden with NABA, you now have the choice of purchasing a sign that reflects your passion for Monarchs, a sign that shows that you have a butterfly garden designed for all butterflies, or you could even purchase both!

For people who have already certified their gardens with NABA and wish to purchase the sign with the Monarch image, please send $25 to NABA, 4 Delaware Road, Morristown, NJ 07960. Please include your name and mailing address along with any information that you would like to share about Monarchs and milkweed in your garden.

For people who have not yet certified their gardens, please visit CERTIFICATION INFORMATION to learn about the program and access the certification application.

Tropical Milkweed: Friend or Foe to Monarchs?

Tropical Milkweed in flower

Tropical Milkweed in flower

There has been so much confusion among butterfly lovers about whether or not they should plant Tropical Milkweed since a scientific study and press release (http://news.uga.edu/…/monarch-butterflies-loss-of-migratio…/) came out on January 15th.

Thanks to the authors of that study for helping to clarify some of the details with their response on the Monarch Joint Venture website.

Note that Tropical Milkweed is not a villain, and neither are the people who plant it, but it is suggested that Tropical Milkweed be used as a carefully managed garden plant. In southern locations throughout the United States, Tropical Milkweed should be cut back to the ground in the fall if it is not grown in a place where frost will kill it. Doing this will help to minimize the possible spread of parasites that can  infect Monarchs.

It is important to remember that Tropical Milkweed is sold widely across the US at many major garden outlets as a decorative container plant. In all likelihood, it is not a plant that will stop being used by gardeners any time soon.

The entire study about Monarchs and Tropical Milkweed can be found online.

Butterfly Field Guides are Not Just for the Field

Butterfly Gardener Magazine is published quarterly by North American Butterfly Association

Butterfly Gardener Magazine is published quarterly by North American Butterfly Association

If you look for butterflies primarily in your own garden or neighborhood, you might think that books about butterflies commonly labeled “field guides” will not be of any use in your butterfly endeavors. You are not in a field; you are, most likely, in a small suburban backyard garden. Yet you do not need to tramp through a field to find these books useful. I would suggest that you take a second look at “field guides” as a way to expand your butterfly-watching experiences.

A butterfly field guide will help you to identify an unfamiliar butterfly that you might have observed in your garden. In addition to providing photographs of likely candidates, a field guide will list the butterfly’s flight range, food plant preference, flight period, and a myriad of other details that will help observant gardeners decide whether the “large orange butterfly” nectaring on milkweed is a Monarch or a Great Spangled Fritillary.

Even if you are able to identify butterfly visitors to your garden without the use of a field guide, turning to a field guide (or two or three) may still be useful and interesting. Reading the details of a butterfly’s habits and life cycle will not only help you to remember the butterfly the next time you see it, but will allow you to create a better local habitat for that species.

In the Fall 2014 issue of Butterfly Gardener, Mary Anne Borge writes about Sleepy Oranges in her article, “Butterfly Explorers.” While reading it, I became curious about the name Sleepy Orange. What is sleepy about a fast moving sulphur? Quicker than I could open my browser and Google “Sleepy Orange”, I found my answer on page 66 of Butterflies of Alabama by Sara Bright and Paulette Haywood Ogard (University of Alabama Press, 2010), who wrote “the name’s origin derives not from the flight patterns but from the wing patterns. Small black crescents, reminiscent of closed or sleeping eyes, mark the forewing. ‘Rambling Orange’ has been proposed as a more logical name since, like all sulphurs, Sleepy Oranges seldom hold their wings where any ‘sleepy’ field marks are visible.”

Not only am I happy to have an quick answer, but the next time I see a sulphur in my garden, I will be much more interested in watching it carefully to see if I can spot the elusive sleepy marks!

If you care to leave a comment about your favorite butterfly field guide, please include your location since many field guides are written to cover particluar areas.

Your Favorite Butterfly Photo could Win $500

texas butterfly festival Perhaps you are new to butterflying?  Or maybe you would like to start a life list of butterflies that you have seen. There can be no better place this fall than at the Texas Butterfly Festival for seeing a wide variety of butterflies while learning from world-class trip leaders and expert guides. The Festival is taking place during prime butterfly season, when you may reasonably expect to see more than 60 species in a day. The Festival is November 1st through 4th, starting each day at the National Butterfly Center in  Mission, Texas.

Even if a trip to Texas is not a possibility, one of the best ways to promote conservation of wildlife is through a camera lens—and it’s no different with butterflies. The North American Butterfly Photo Contest, held in conjunction with the Texas Butterfly Festival, is one way in which people young and old may appreciate butterflies, while preserving and protecting species populations. It’s also a way for people who cannot travel to the Rio Grande Valley to the Texas Butterfly Festival to support our mission and participate in a meaningful way. Plus there are prizes: Grand Prize: $500 Cash, 1st Runner Up: $250, Honorable Mentions: $100 ea.

Consider this suggestion from the National Butterfly Center: “Grab your camera—or phone—and go chase butterflies!” states Marianna Trevino Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center, host of the Texas Butterfly Festival, “You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get that one great shot and win cash in this contest. Even last year’s winner got lucky, when we unexpectedly captured two butterflies in one frame for the fascinating image that won over the judges.”

Butterflies may be found in backyards and parks, green spaces and wild places,” explains Wright. “You don’t have to go far to enjoy them; you just have to go outside and look for them. We hope the contest will spark an interest in people who may not have paid attention to butterflies in the past, and encourage them to learn more about these precious pollinators.”

To find out more about the North American Butterfly Photo Contest visit The Texas Butterfly Festival site.

Certified Butterfly Garden # 1075

NABA Certified Butterfly Garden #1075 at the Texas Quilt Museum

NABA Certified Butterfly Garden #1075 at the Texas Quilt Museum

“Grandmother’s Garden” is a NABA Certified Butterfly Garden in LaGrange, TX at the Texas Quilt Museum. This period garden is styled after gardens from the 1890’s which is around the date that the museum buildings were built. The garden features native plants for pollinators, as well as a variety of antique roses.

The garden is named after a popular quilt pattern from the 1930’s. Designed to inspire creativity and contemplantion, “Grandmother’s Garden” is an example of the many ways that butterfly gardens can be created to serve both people and the environment.

The Texas Quilt Museum is holding its first juried competition, titled BUTTERFLY WHIRL, inspired by NABA, the National Butterfly Center, and the National Quilt Museum. The touring exhibit of these beautiful works of art in textiles will debut at the National Butterfly Center Labor Day weekend 2014! Look for an article about the exhibit in your coming issue of American Butterflies magazine.

Learn more at The Texas Quilt Museum

Where are the Butterflies?

Spicebush Swallowtail nectaring on Cardinalflower

Spicebush Swallowtail nectaring on Cardinalflower

Every summer, we wait to see what butterflies will visit our gardens. Some years we wait longer than others and start to wonder “where are the butterflies?”

Users of NABA-Chat, a listserve where members of North American Butterfly Association can post questions and seek feedback on all things concerning butterflies, have been pondering the low numbers of Monarchs seen so far this year in North America. Other butterflies have been mentioned and also seem to be in short supply.

From State College, PA, Annapolis, MD, Mansfield, OH, Houston, TX, and Montclair, NJ, NABA members have reported low numbers so far.

What butterflies have visited your garden this month? Are you seeing as many butterflies as in past years? Please include your location with your information.

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