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Butterfly Gardens

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Although some planting times vary for some species, the planting time for summer butterfly gardens is here. First your family will need to research which kinds of butterflies are native to your area and what plants will attract them.

For example one butterfly that migrates to Colorado from Texas is the Painted Lady. The Painted Lady plant favorites include asters, thistles, sunflowers, marigold, lilac, hollyhock, and sweet peas.

Children love creating their own butterfly garden. Print out a list of plants and flowers from your research and take it with you to your local greenhouse or nursery. Or you can check online or in catalogs to order your plants.

There are some butterfly garden accessories to buy, like butterfly houses with cute little slots to keep birds out and protect butterflies. You can also buy nectar to keep your butterflies around all summer.

Make sure to keep a camera and journal handy for pictures and notes about your butterfly garden.

Butterfly books for your children:

· National Geographic Readers: Caterpillar to Butterfly by Laura Marsh

· From Caterpillar to Butterfly (Let's-Read-and-Find... Science, Stage 1) by Deborah Heiligman and Bari Weissman

· Stokes Butterfly Book : The Complete Guide to Butterfly Gardening, Identification, and Behavior by Donald Stokes, Lillian Stokes and Ernest Williams

· Are You a Butterfly? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries

· National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Butterflies Of North America by NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY

· Butterfly Butterfly: A Book of Colors by Petr Horacek

· National Geographic Readers: Great Migrations Butterflies by Laura Marsh

· Butterfly Colors and Counting by Jerry Pallotta

· A Butterfly Is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

· My, Oh My--A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Tish Rabe, Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu

An Irish Blessing

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun.
And find your shoulder to light on.
To bring you luck, happiness and riches.
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

-R.R.Cratty

Rhonda Cratty includes her experiences of 30 years of public school teaching, raising children of her own, and articles written for on-line and hard copy publications -within the pages of Learning at home. Learning at home can be purchased in print or eBook form through Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1494917203

Butterflies life cycle
Butterflies life cycle Public Domain

Butterflies life cycle

Butterflies life cycle
Butterflies have four different stages to their life cycle.  The change from stage to stage is called a "metamorphosis.

Butterflies life cycle 1
Butterflies life cycle 1 Public Domain

Butterflies life cycle 1

The first stage is a tiny egg. The female butterfly attaches the egg to leaves, stems, or other objects, near the intended caterpillar food.

Butterflies life cycle 2
Butterflies life cycle 2 Public Domain

Butterflies life cycle 2

The second stage is the caterpillar-or larva. A long, worm-like stage. This is the feeding and growth stage. As it grows, it sheds its skin four or more times.

Butterflies life cycle 3
Butterflies life cycle 3 Public Domain

Butterflies life cycle 3

The third stage is the chrysalis-or pupa. This is the transformation stage, in which the caterpillar tissues are broken down and the adult insect's structures are formed. The chrysalis is brown or green to blend into the background.

Butterflies life cycle 4
Butterflies life cycle 4 Public Domain

Butterflies life cycle 4

The last stage is the adult-or imago. This is the beautiful colorful butterfly or moth usually seen. The adults go through courtship, mating, and egg-laying. The adult butterfly migrates or colonizes new habitats including into your butterfly garden.

Butterfly
Butterfly Public Domain

Butterfly

The butterfly life cycle is around 6 to 8 weeks. Egg stage is about 4 days.  The caterpillar stage lasts for about 2 weeks.  The life inside a chrysalis lasts 10 days. The butterfly will flutter in your garden from 2-6 weeks.

Butterfly kits
Butterfly kits Public Domain

Butterfly kits

There are many butterfly kits you can buy online.  These kits come with live caterpillars and homes so you can see metamorphosis right before your eyes!

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