Bring back that Buddleia!

The point of planting butterfly bush is to attract, well, butterflies. Apparently this has been a good year for butterflies (gee, they need water. Who would have guessed?) both local and imported. In this case, the first of the monarch migration appeared Monday, October 12. A massive cold front swept down the front of the Rockies on Thursday-Friday, chasing the butterflies south. As a result, the entire week before it seemed like we had a monarch invasion.

Over the years, a number of hummingbird and butterfly favored plants have managed to survive around Redquarters, probably because my parents gave up on all non-native or non-desert plants except roses. So there are Buddleia tucked here and there, and an enormous yellow specimen in the front yard.

Like this, but about 2 meters/ six feet tall and even wider.

Like this, but about 2 meters/ six feet tall and even wider.

The Buddleia is . . . rather popular with monarchs. So popular that last week, on Wednesday and early Thursday, it looked as if the swarms were going to uproot the whole bush and carry it off. Butterfly take-out, as it were. It’s been years since I recall seeing so many monarchs. But then, it’s been a very good year for butterflies (and dragonflies, and mosquitoes, and gnats, and silverfish, and crickets, and . . .) On Saturday, once it warmed up into the 60s, I counted no less than ten monarchs that flushed when I watered the Buddleia.

Like this, but with more butterflies, and make the peacocks monarchs.

Like this, but with more butterflies, and make the peacocks monarchs.

If I pull up to Redquarters some afternoon this week and find an enormous hole where the Buddleia used to be, well, I’ll know who took it and which direction it went – south.


4 thoughts on “Bring back that Buddleia!

  1. OMG! Migrants fleeing the country! Call DHS/INS.

    I didn’t see one monarch this year. :o(
    We encourage wildflowers, too. 27 degrees this AM

  2. Somehow that cold front missed us, it was 80 degrees Friday, and Saturday. I’ve been guiding elk hunters (the next batch comes in this afternoon, so I’ll be gone for another week), and I’m used to doing that in the rain and snow, not while wearing a t-shirt and working on my tan. It has also been the driest year I can remember, and I don’t recall seeing a single monarch, this year.

    • I wonder if they stayed east of the Rockies this year. This is the most I’ve seen since 2002, which is about when the drought began working into the region.

  3. We have a winged elm tree in our back yard. It blooms every year, sometime between mid-June and mid-July. It and a pair of chokecherries bring in swarms of insects, from tiny midges to monarch and swallowtail butterflies. In the evening it’s the huge Luna moths and hummingbird moths. The bloom lasts from three to six weeks. The sweet smell is so intense sometimes that even I can smell it, and I can smell very, very little. I’ve been planting other flowering plants to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Next year the hydrangeas go in. Surprisingly, the lilacs don’t attract butterflies, only bees.

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