Saturday, July 12, 2008

Butterfly Island

I have always wanted to attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds into my yard. One dilemma led me to create a Butterfly Island for the Flying Flowers.

We had an island in the middle of the side yard that consisted of 4 Sweet Gum trees. They were hovering above Power Lines and dropped limbs constantly. Georgia Power would not cut them because they were not touching the lines. However, they would gladly come out and cut trees and reattach my power lines if and when the trees cause damage. I guess they do not believe in preventative medicine! Well, I do believe in preventative medicine so the trees had to come down!

The Saint and I, with the assistance of a neighbor had them on the ground in no time at all one Saturday morning. Yep, all 4 one right after the other on the same day! The neighbor helps us get trees to the ground, we do the rest ourselves. What a job it was to get the mess of 4 trees cut, chopped and hauled to another area of our yard. We hired a nice gentleman to grind up the stumps for us at $10.00 each! I had him go all over the yard grinding up stumps at that price!

We ended up with this nice oval island. Only down side was, now I could see the huge boat shed from the patio as well as the office window. The shed serves it purpose to keep the boat dry and clean but I think it is such an eye catcher in the yard.

The first thing I did was run to the bird store and purchase a nice pole and humming bird feeders to place in the center of the island. The little flying jewels found them in no time at all.

I relocated 4 small butterfly bushes from another area to attract butterflies. The island needed something more so my imagination went to work. I decided on a walkway to the feeder. I had some free bricks from a construction sight and thought they would make a great border.

I staked off a pathway and laid the bricks on the ground where I wanted them. Thank goodness no Georgia Clay was in this area!
I had the bricks dug into the ground in no time at all and was happy with the results.
Next step was adding pea-gravel to the walkway. A few bags later and that job was completed and I was happy.
You know from a previous posting on Pine Straw, that would be my choice of coverings for a finished look. You will also see a small circular rock border in this picture. That is a Cypress sapling that popped up in my dad's yard in TN. He gave the Cypress tree to the Saint and we planted it in the island. It will probably outgrow this area but we will just add on to the island in the future if need be.

We had a swing frame in place from the previous homeowners so we decided it was time to purchase a swing. I added an additional Butterfly bush to the island when it got into my way from another project. I also planted Periwinkle (Vinca Minor) around the walkway for additional color.
We now had a nice little island for Butterflies and Hummingbirds to stop by and visit.

In time the butterfly bushes grew like weeds and were hiding that ugly boat shed from my view as I sit on the swing and enjoyed my fluttering visitors!
The Periwinkle practically took over the walkway! I did not like my legs touching the flowers as I walked into the island to refill the bird feeders. I feared a snake could be hiding under them and if I stepped just right, or wrong, my ankles would be bitten!
The Periwinkle was beautiful and attracted a ton of buzzing activity but that was the only year I planted it. I let a couple of self seeders stay the following year but we removed all the old pine straw this spring and I took out all the oddly placed seedlings before replacing the fresh pine straw. I miss the Vinca this year and will plant it again next year but it will be planted further away from the walkway! Live and Learn...
I have shown you all these past pictures to let you see how quickly the island developed in one season. I started the pathway project in March 2006 and the above pictures were taken from then until Sept 2006. Yes, it all grew that wonderfully in just 6 months time!

Below is the island today! This is the view from my office window. I don't even notice that ugly boat shed as my eyes are always turned towards the island!

I prune the bushes back to about 2 feet tall each spring to keep them from growing into the power lines. Just look at them now! I am shocked as to how quickly they grow and bloom each year. And look at that Cypress Tree after only a few years! I have a posting in the works for that in the future.

I found the butterfly bushes at a very popular big box store for $2.50 each! I found them the previous Fall. Dave over at The Home Garden is always looking for bargains. I would have to say this is my best bargain to date Dave! I have 3 more butterfly bushes that are not doing as well because they are in a shaded area and have too much water from spring rainfalls. I need to relocate them to another area at some point but this island is full.

The Butterfly Bush Buddleja is a great bush for me as it meets my criteria in the garden. Drought tolerant, blooms from late spring to fall, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

I have 3 different colors of butterfly bush but not sure exactly which ones they are. Coming from a big box store (that sells groceries, hint) does have its disadvantages such as no proper tags!

This pretty soft purple could be a 'Peacock' or a 'Claret Purple'. Humm, I can only wonder which...

This pretty purple bloom could be called a 'Black Knight' or a 'Purple Emperor'. Humm, any guesses? See the bee?
One thing is for sure, this pretty white bloom belongs to the 'White Bouquet' butterfly bush! I have documented many different types of butterflies in my little Butterfly Island. Stop back by tomorrow to see them!
My mom gave us a really nice wind chime with church bell chimes. I hung it on the swing frame and enjoy listening to the bells as I observe the activity. Thanks Mom!

As you can see this was not a difficult nor expensive creation for me. In return this little Butterfly Island gives me tons of enjoyment while sitting on my swing while In the Garden.


  1. Hi Skeeter, thanks for showing us this wonderful project. I love the swing, we need something like that too. I'll bet you get tons of hummers with the feeder and the bushes. Your keyhole shaped path is perfect for the spot. I can't help much with the ID for the buddleias though the first one might be Nanho blue. Usually the cheap ones at big box stores are older varieties, if that helps. I can smell the fragrance as I gaze upon the photos. Thanks.

  2. Very creative --love the fact that these bushes attract butterflies. My neighbor has one --it is nice to watch those adorable little butterflies flutter all over it:) I have to keep Sidekick away --he would love to catch them. Have a great day!

  3. Your problem solving turned into a great beautification project. I like the choices that yielded such quick results. Good job and thanks for sharing your creative process.


  4. I wouldn't want to see the boat either...cause then I would be dreaming of being on the lake all day instead of getting anything done. Not that I can ever stay focused long enough to get much done anyway. I would much rather be out playing!

  5. Good Morning Early risers!

    We have a swing on the front porch also Frances and I enjoy the relaxing feeling the swings allow me. I now wish I had extended the pathway to go out the other side of the Island towards the Flower Garden. But now that 5th Bush is in the way and it is not going to be moved! After looking on-line a bit I did find out there are many different types of butterfly bushes and I just have no idea what mine are other then great butterfly magnets!

    Anonymous, We truly enjoy the activity the bushes bring to the yard. We have butterflies small and large! Since Sidekick is going to come to Georgia and stay with me for “17 days”, I will let him carefully catch some butterflies and we will study them then let them go back into the wild. Hey, maybe you can start a butterfly farm along with your salamander adventures! LOL. Tomorrow, Sidekick and the rest of the kiddos can see some of my Flying Flowers!

    Mother Nature, Thanks for the kind words. The Saint always complains that I am a person which demands, Instant Gratification. I answer, “What’s wrong with that?” I am a rather patient person except for where the garden is concerned. I want pretty flowers big and tall as soon as I put them into the ground!

    Jillybean, the boat is for the weekends, I play in the yard during the weekdays! Ya see, I cant back the boat down the ramp and the Saint works M-F so I must wait for him. Once I learn to back the boat, I might spend less time in the garden! LOL...

  6. I'll come help you practice! We sneak off during the week and do lots of different things while Mr. Technosavy is at work. Our "girl" days are tons of fun. Smartypants sometimes gets irritated when he is the only boy around though. But since he is the only boy in my WHOLE family it can't be helped sometimes. Like today, there will be 6 young girls here...and him. He isn't happy. One day he will appreciate all the beauty he is surrounded by.

  7. Hi guys,
    Skeeter this garden is beautiful, I too like the keyhole idea. The whole thing looks like it was meant for that spot. The close-ups of the flowers are very wonderful! Can't wait til tom for the butterflies. We have a couple that tease my daughter BUT always seem to hang out, just beyond reach.

  8. Jillybean, I should take lessons from you and learn how to back the trailer! For an emergency situation if nothing else. One time the Saint forgot to put the plug into the bass boat and the Saint had to do some quick maneuvers to get us out of the water! No more problems with that as we now have a pontoon and they dont have plugs to remember! Yep, Smartypants will look back one day and say, wow, I had all those beauties around me and did not notice them.... LOL....

    Dawn, Hey there! It does kind of look as though I dug out the area and created this spot but the foundation was already there, we just had to remove the trees and then go with the flow. It does work well for us...

  9. Very nice indeed!! But I got fooled today. As I was reading I thought to myself, Frances will know what type they are!!!

  10. That's a wonderful Butterfly Bed. I can't believe the bargain you found on those butterfly bushes. That is awesome. It's also nice to see a project from start to finish. You can see all the work that went into it.

  11. Hello Jean getting excited right about now? Tee Hee....
    I was like you and just knew Frances would identify my beauties! She has such a knowledgeable mind when it comes to plants. I really did not know there were so many different types of butterfly bush. Oh well, I will just continue to call them the Purple, Lavender and White bushes! As I look out the window, I see lots of fluttering activity and want to go check it out but way too humid to get in the sun today!

    We did get to the market in old downtown Augusta this morning. Picked up some blackberry, peaches and a cute melon! Don’t know what kind of melon but they got the best of us with the free sample. Sweet and juicy! LOL…

  12. Hi Cindy, thanks for stopping by! I was not so shocked at the price until I saw how big the bushes became and then I knew I had a real bargain! I just need to get the other three out of the shady area and into the sun so they can grow to their full potential..... I live away from family so I document my little projects through pictures and send them home through the computer. That keeps us in touch and up to date with our happenings. I really do enjoy before and after pictures of a project.

  13. Skeeter,

    How wonderful to have a perfect home for butterflies and hummers with a seat for you to watch them or take photos! You know what Frances calls a photograph of hummers...The Holy Grail of Photos!

    You did good girl!


  14. I love your Butterfly Island! This is a really cool project and the swing is a nice area to observe all of nature's creatures in their glory. Thanks for sharing this beautiful garden with us.

  15. Gail, The Holy Grail of photos may be mentioned in tomorrows post! Hint hint.... giggle-giggle...

    Perennial Gardener, The swing is a great relaxing spot for me. I was there for over an hour yesterday observing my little beauties after mowing the yard. The swing and a glass of ice water are a great spot for a cool down after a hot job.

    Hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday...

  16. Periwinkle does like to take over. I enjoy your progression photos!
    ~ Monica

  17. Hi Skeeter --lil Sidekick needs to come on down for his 17 days :0) I couldn't keep him out of the sun today --argh!!! A birthday party and he wouldn't have it being in the shade --I doused that lil pale body with lots of SPF and bug spray --just in case --I don't like ticks on my boy. His goal at the party was to catch HORNETS. Oh my --everyone was like do you see him?? Well, yes he is ALL boy and does that with bees too. I hoped those stings he had received previous times would make him realize it hurts but this is the same lil guy who crawls down on the ground to get a good look under the shed --ACK!!! I must watch him like a hawk --he is an active --bug loving, lizard catching boy:0) If this is a sign of the future --maybe he'll be a wildlife biologist :0) We'll all learn where the good fishing and hunting spots are:0) Hahahaha My boy 2 is home and very, very tired from camp. He gave me lots of hugs which was nice --he is sitting in the recliner watching TV --they didn't have electronics or A/C at camp so he is living the life right now. I look forward to tomorrows post --we didn't have rain yet but radar looks pretty crazy with red and yellow. Hi Jean --hope your staying cool and get a little rain soon. Tina --enjoy your time with family -must check on the kiddos --back to the full house so lots to do.

  18. Skeeter, everything is hunky dory. Tee Hee. Christy, Jay, Terri-Lynn and I were in the garden most of the day and took a walk over to the tank farm and got some pine needles. Well, I sat in my chair while they did all the work. The tank farm has been closed for 16 years and it has grown up sooooo bad but I got my chair in but got stuck on the way out and Jay pushed me till I got back out.

    Anonymous I am staying cool but about time to turn off the ac for the night. Hot days but cool nights. Wish you would do a rain dance for me!! Hope the boy really enjoyed camp. When I was a kid I lived year round for summer camp. LOVED IT.

  19. Hey all! Just a quick check in to say hello! I am NOT staying long (promised Mr. Fix-it). Skeeter, I love the keyhole opening and my how it has grown. I too like the progression pics. ttyl

  20. Great post Skeeter. Love the butterfly island. You sure did a good job & so fast. The swing just finishes it off. I love to swing while I'm watching the hummers. Also I can see my garden.

  21. Garden Faerie, I do like the periwinkle as it is so drought tolerant and blooms all summer long! I have it in 5 different planters for continuous color! I think everyone should document projects as it is wonderful to look back and see how your hard work pays off in the end! Thanks...

    Anonymous, I get the feeling you are happy all your babies are under one roof again! I bet it was great to get all those hugs and kisses from Boy 2, shows how much he missed you! What a special feeling that must be for you. So he learned how to live without AC and TV! I think that is great as they had to live like us old fogies once did! LOL... Tie Sidekick up if you have to in order to keep him away from those hornets! Looks like you have a little Steve Irwin on your hands. And I would like to know the secret fishing spots. We need all the help we can get with our lack of fishing skills. LOL... Am glad you and your family had a nice day today!

    Jean, You really got my attention when you mentioned PINE NEEDLES! ha ha... I am so glad you had Muscles (Jay) to get you out of the rut! That must have been a little adventure for you. Hey, I like your idea of watching others working. Can you teach me how to do that??? I really envy your cool nights and I want a Rain Dance also!

    Tina, I knew you could not stay away too long. LOL, Have you taken that test yet? And I hope you finally got that paper finished also. I want you to be able to spend quality time with Mr. Fixit and I hope you are not putting him to work on his time off with swimming pool and Jacuzzi repairs and digging up huge bushes! Give the man a rest and yourself too! You need to slow down and smell something other then Roses! LOL... I am just joking ya know...

  22. Well, Hey Lola! You jumped in here while I was commenting so you are up late also! WE just watched a movie and had ice cream with fresh blackberries! Yum and I am not a big blackberry eater but they were good!

    I do love my swings. I have one on the front porch also and my favorite time to sit in it is when we are having a little rain shower. I can stay dry and watch the yard soak it up. But I dont do thunder and lightening on the porch, Not that brave! LOL... I have not sat and watched the rain in a while so I am ready for another front porch sit Mother Nature, are you listening???

  23. Blackberries & ice cream. Hmmm sounds good. I guess I need to move my blackberry vines. They are not climbers but go sideways. I have mine on an arbor. May kill them if I move them as they have been on that arbor for yrs now. They are thornless.
    GGS just got back & boy what hugs & kisses I got. So I guess I was missed.

    Hello one & all. Hope all are having a great week end. Don't study too hard Tina.

  24. Oh Lola, the berries and cream were great! When a young child we would take an old coffee can and collect blackberries from the roadside! My grandmother would make Blackberry Cobbler! Wish I knew how she made it as it was wonderful... The ones we picked up at the market are so huge. I snapped a picture to show you on garden update day on Wednesday...

    Hugs and kisses are great arent they?

    Sent you recipes but came back. If you have my add. send it to me.

  26. Skeeter you may not remember but Lola will. Peanut Butter used to came in large, yellow, plastic containers with a handle. My mother would wash them and save them. She would tie a lightweight rope on the handle that we would put over our head and let it rest on our necks. That way we could use both hands and stand in one place and fill the large pail in no time. I loved them. They were next to the ocean which for some reason made berries of all kind sooooo sweet but at one place we used to go had more blackberries than the other berries.

  27. Lola, I do not have your email address...

    Jean, I have never seen peanut butter in a tub with handle! That was a great idea for two handed picking! I would think that berries growing by the ocean would taste salty! LOL...

  28. Jean I use to go to what we called "the bottom" to pick as they were bigger & sweeter there. A creek ran through it so some moisture at all times. Just had to watch out for snakes. I use to take 2 buckets {I think they were 5 gal.} as it was too far from the house. Then I started to ride my horse {better than walking}. Mother did not know until a couple yrs before she passed how I got on my horse without spilling the berries. She would lay down for me to get on her back then she would stand up. I loved that horse. Cried my eyes out when she died from snake bite.

  29. Oh Lola, what a special horse to lay down for you to get on its back! That is amazing for a horse to do that.... 10 gallons of berries! Now that was a cash crop!

    Holy moly, I have seen two snakes today! The 2 foot one this morning and now a tiny 6 inch one this evening in the veggie garden! Hope he was eating bugs! Lots of big juicy fat worms in the garden for him too....

  30. Oh Lola that was a great horse, we will have to call you Roy Rogers, Jr.!!!!

  31. Skeeter, I debated on that but went with Roy cause Trigger was the better horse. LOL