While planning and preparing your garden this spring, have you considered whether your outdoor space is butterfly-friendly? If you're like me, one of the best parts of spending time in nature is watching all of the birds, little animals, and beautiful butterflies or bees as they bustle around the yard or hop from flower to flower.

Why Make Butterfly-Friendly Gardens?

Not only do butterflies add a magical quality to your garden, they also serve a very important purpose. Along with bees, they help with pollination which is essential to a healthy growing garden and ecosystem.  While they only live for a few weeks, butterflies spend their time mating and laying eggs.

Experts have determined that Monarch butterfly populations have decreased by about 80% over time due to pesticide use and environmental changes.


Attract Butterflies to Your Garden With Their Favorite Plants

According to the Farmer's Almanac, these are the best things to plant to make caterpillars and butterflies happy. Since butterflies have short lives, you will want to make your garden appealing for them to stay and thrive through their entire life cycles.

"For caterpillars, consider plants like milkweed, dill, and asters. Monarch caterpillars ONLY eat milkweed. Fun fact, the monarch butterfly is also known as the “milkweed butterfly.”

For butterflies, Joe-Pye weed, ironweed, coneflowers, goldenrod, and brightly-hued asters are nectar-filled favorites. "

Other flowers like Allium, Blue Indigo, Bee Balm, Day Lily, Lavender, Phlox, Shasta Daisies, and Zinnias are all popular additions to your garden that will provide variety, pops of color, and summon lots of butterfly friends.


Kentucky's official state flower, the Goldenrod is also a favorite. That's a good sign for Bluegrass Butterflies as there is plenty of that growing here in the state.

 Make a "Mud Puddle"

All that flying and mating and pollinating can make a butterfly thirsty. Their favorite place to quench their thirst is a good old-fashioned mud puddle. You can also put out a birdbath, bowl of water, small fountains, or sponges soaked in water. If you can place any of those things in a sunny open spot, the butterflies will appreciate it.


Avoid Using Pesticides and Herbicides

I know a weed-free yard mowed to perfection looks amazing from the curb, but butterflies and other friends in nature need some "yard mess." The pesticides and herbicides also harm good insects like butterflies and bees.

Building a Better Monarch Butterfly Garden Program

If you want to learn more about Monarch butterflies, the Daviess County Cooperative Extension Office is hosting an Entomologist from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Daniel Potter will be sharing the importance of making welcoming spaces for pollinators and beneficial insects.  April 9th at 1:00 PM at the Extension Office behind the Owensboro Community College at 4800A New Hartford Rd.


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Sources: biologicaldiversity.org, National Wildlife Federation,

LOOK: Do you see faces in these photos?

Pareidolia refers to the ability to see recognizable shapes, often faces, in random objects. Take a look at the photos below and see if you can identify any faces or shapes. Some are easy to spot, while others might be more challenging.

Gallery Credit: Stephen Lenz

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