Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: Low maintenance Butterfly garden in ohio?

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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Jul 20, 2016 3:57 PM CST
I would start seed now and try to get them big enough for outside this fall. If they succeed, you're way ahead. If they fail- you probably have enough seed from those packs to try again.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
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Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
Jul 21, 2016 7:31 AM CST
Gary,
I agree with your choices, with one exception. In my opinion, aster doesn't earn a spot in a limited garden because the foliage is so ugly and the bloom time is so short compared to many other plants.
Liatris bulbs are available in the spring from everywhere, and so much easier than growing from seed. Walmart and Lowes sell 20 bulbs for $5, or so, a real bargain.
I have an area near my bee hives where I have planted exactly the plants you name, and literally, they get maybe 2 hours work per year. Russian sage is another plant you might use for full hot sun, and the blue is so pretty with the yellow coreopsis. My bees go crazy over mints and sedum. Mints should be contained to pots. Apple mint seems to be the preferred one for my bees. Zinnias, definitely!!! For early spring pollinators, I would add a swath of muscari, aka grape hyacinth. In that area, I would plant 200 or so and let them spread. The foliage in the summer might even keep out weeds. I think an early blue and yellow iris would be pretty mixed in with the muscari. Alliums are cool plants too, and butterflies love them.
I agree with you on the wildflower mixes. It is very hard to tell which is a desirable plant and which is a weed when they are seedlings. Some of those mixes have plants that can become thuggish if in enriched soil or a protected site.
I have found that native beds are much trickier to plan because many natives have short bloom times and need space to spread. The improved versions of natives, (assuming they are not sterile versions) have worked out better for me on the Russian sage, coreopsis, aster, rudbeckia, gaillardia, liatris and bronze fennel. They bloom longer and have a neater growth habit. Longer bloom period means more opportunities for bees and butterflies to find them! On any of them, if you do take the time to cut off seedheads, you'll get more bloom. I leave the last seed heads on in fall because finches feed from them through the winter. Hope that helps a bit! Post a picture of what you end up with, please!!
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
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IRELAND
Jul 24, 2016 9:27 AM CST
Would you consider Tall Joe Pye Weed? After three years mine are twelve feet high in the sun. The ones in the shade are shorter. I think I have every flower mentioned in all the replies but the butterflies favor this weed. You will find all kinds of pollinators on this plant. I have a raised brick planter outside my window. From my table I can watch bees, hummingbirds, clear wing moth and butterflies. The finches love the coneflower seeds. A portion of my small yard is overloaded with flowers and may look a little wild but all the flowers have pushed the weeds out (except the dandelions!). All my neighbors apply pesticides to their yard but I will not. At back of my property I put a mason bee box on my shed and they have filled it. My yard is teaming with wildlife. And it all started with wanting a butterfly garden, like you. Ironically, my neighbors and people walking visit and comment about it's beauty.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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Weedwhacker
Jul 24, 2016 7:02 PM CST
@IRELAND, although there is no "new member" system note on your post, I see you have joined rather recently, so I would just like to say welcome to NGA! (and I'd love to see photos of your flower garden! Smiling )
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Name: Gary
Cincinnati Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Gschnettler
Jul 27, 2016 7:10 AM CST
Is the bloom time of Asters really that short? According to this website Smooth Aster blooms from August - October.

http://www.wildflowerfarm.com/...

Smooth Aster is one of the most attractive and long-lived of all the asters. Blooming from late August through to the end of October, it puts on a fabulous floral display producing clusters of dainty blue flowers long after most flowers are finished. A favourite stopping spot for butterflies, this Symphyotrichum laeve (formerly called Aster laeve) does well in just about any well-drained soil.


Name: Gary
Cincinnati Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Gschnettler
Jul 29, 2016 9:09 PM CST
Is the bloom time of Asters really that short? According to this website Smooth Aster blooms from August - October.

http://www.wildflowerfarm.com/...

Smooth Aster is one of the most attractive and long-lived of all the asters. Blooming from late August through to the end of October, it puts on a fabulous floral display producing clusters of dainty blue flowers long after most flowers are finished. A favourite stopping spot for butterflies, this Symphyotrichum laeve (formerly called Aster laeve) does well in just about any well-drained soil.


central Illinois
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier
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jmorth
Jul 29, 2016 10:28 PM CST
The New England Asters I grow bloom starting the end of Aug. peak in September, and loose leaves in Oct. They are 5 or 6 ft. high and put on a glorious show.
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