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Re: Bird, Bees and Butterfly Gardens

Oh my!  Host plants are rarely pretty, since they get eaten by  the 
caterpillars....unless one uses Bt or such, and then it defeats the purpose  of having 
a BBB garden.  Hm...perhaps you can suggest planting nectar  plants around the 
host plants to hide the lack of foliage??  The plants  would still bloom, 
just at times not have perfect foliage, if  any.
Cannas are one of the host plants of some of the Skipper  butterfies.  The la
rvae roll themselves up in the leaf.  Cannas having  such large leaves really 
show the damage more, so would be a chore to keep that  "pretty" unless well 
hidden.  Most "show" gardens don't add cannas to their  BBB gardens due to 
this, but in an educational garden where emphasis is put  on the actual viewing of 
the life cycle of a butterfly and not so much on  beauty, it would be 
excellent.  The caterpillars don't have any effect on  the blooms.....only the 
foliage, so host plants still bloom well....some say  even more due to the castings 
Sometimes the educational process is a bit more tedious for the MG's  
themselves.  It was very painstaking for the Butterfly committee to educate  the rest 
of the MG's on exactly what the purpose was of the Butterfly  garden.  We 
lost more host plants to well meaning MG's pulling what they  thought looked bad, 
and spraying insecticide on our "infected" plants.   Finally we had to move 
the garden totally to a different area away from other  areas and fence it off. 
zone 9
Texas Gulf Coast
In a message dated 5/17/2005 10:05:28 AM Central Standard Time,  
gardenchat-owner@hort.net writes:

One  thing worries me, in an effort
to clean up and rearrange this badly  neglected garden, I worry that they may
move toward pretty rahter than  focusing on the needs of BBB.  This is what
has occurred to some  extent in our Everlastings and Cutting Garden.  Do you
know which BBB  are interested in Cannas?

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