The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Friday, October 7, 2016

The New White Profusion Butterfly Bush Is Planted.

White Profusion Butterfly Bush.
They enjoy sunlight and need watering in this climate.

Mrs. Ichabod was so impressed with the Butterfly Bush outside our bedroom window that she asked for another one outside the kitchen window, both on the west side of the house. I guessed that would have to wait until spring, but fall planting of bushes is a good idea.

I checked Amazon - and Colonial Farms, new to me, had a White Profusion Butterfly Bush for $10 with shipping. That had to be a small one, but the plant would have fall and winter to put down roots and set up an exchange system with the fungi, which need carbon, in exchange for various forms of nutrition and water.

The current news on Hurricane Matthew offers stupendous figures about its size and possible destruction. Close to home, the activities of plants and microbes astonish even more. Roots and root hairs stretch for miles, as fungi strands do. The complexity and inter-dependence is all the more impressive because so much activity takes place at the microscopic level. Every living thing, plant and animal, is created and engineered to do its job without hesitation, complaining, or rest.


The plant was very fresh and hydrated, but I soaked it in rainwater anyway - overnight. Rainwater is the best and most gentle fertilizer and never burns. The next best would be earthworm castings, which cost quite a bit more per pound.

I woke up to rainfall, plenty of it, and a break from rain - when Sassy told me to take her for a walk. She did not say anything, just blocked my exit from the bathroom by stretching out on the floor.

The plant looked perfect when I fished it out of the rainbarrel,  after our brief and drippy walk. Sassy probably felt heavy rain on the way and barked me to stop after 1/2 block.

When I scraped soil aside for planting, it was dry as dust, after a recent rainfall and the current one. We are supposedly 8 inches short of rain this year.

I poured rainwater in the hole and planted the tiny bush in a few minutes. Next I spread a sheet of newspaper over the plant, with a hole torn out for the plant, a bib or collar to hold in moisture and let rain and sunshine come down. I had leftover wood mulch, so I put some on the newspaper, then added small logs on each side of the plant. The logs keep us from walking into the tender plant and uprooting it. Wood and newspaper on the soil encourage soil creatures, and logs provide a shelter for toads.

 The Butterfly Bush compound flowers attract bees, butterflies,
and beneficial insects. They smell like candy and can reach 12 feet tall.
--

http://www.butterflywebsite.com/articles/buddleia-butterfly-bush.cfm

BUDDLEIA: BUTTERFLY BUSH EXTRAORDINAIRE

by Claire Hagen Dole

Spring 1997

Butterfly Magnet

With a name like butterfly bush, you might expect a plant to be attractive to butterflies. In fact, it's more than attractive; it's a magnet for all the butterflies who pass through your garden seeking nectar. Many butterfly gardeners plan their garden aroundBuddleia (pronounced BUD-lee-ah), a genus that includes over 100 species and cultivars. Also called summer lilac, the medium- to large-sized shrubs can anchor a perennial bed or form a hedge.
You'll be happier with Buddleia if you accept its growth habit, which is not neat and tidy. Its narrow branches support lilac-like clusters of blossoms a foot or two in length, with side branches and blossoms. After a rainfall, the flower-laden branches of some species can droop all over your flower bed. You'll want to allow at least six feet between bushes to keep some semblance of neatness.
But wait till you see the bush covered with fritillaries and tortoiseshells! Even a large swallowtail can land on the cluster, to sip from the many individual blooms.
Butterflies and bees will flock to the honey-scented blossoms, whose dilute nectar is sweetest in midday sun. Near a path or patio, the shrub provides delightful fragrance for you, too.
Do butterflies prefer certain colors of Buddleia? In my garden, Western Tiger Swallowtails visited all varieties (white and various shades of purple/pink/red). But Red Admirals preferred the white Buddleia while it was in bloom. Gardeners in other parts of the country may notice other preferences, if any.

History of the Butterfly Bush

Where did the name Buddleia come from? A seventeenth-century amateur botanist named Reverend Adam Buddle was honored posthumously, when the first butterfly bush reached England in 1774. Though most of today's offerings have Chinese ancestors, this shrub (Buddleia globosa) came from Chile. Its unfamiliar name prompted one nursery tradesman to call it the "Globose Buddlebush." Fortunately, the name didn't stick, but common names like Chilean orange ball tree aren't much better. It's more precise to call it what it is: Buddleia globosa.
Victorian-era explorers brought all kinds of exotic plants back to England. From China came seeds of Buddleia davidii, the hardy species that is most familiar to gardeners today. Named after a French Jesuit missionary, Pere Armand David, B. davidii reached London's Kew Gardens in 1896. Today, nurseries continue to develop new cultivars, like 'Raspberry Wine' (Carroll Gardens) and 'Twilight' (Mountain Valley Growers).
And horticulturists are still combing the Himalayan foothills for as-yet undiscovered Buddleia varieties. Heronswood Nursery lists three acquisitions from recent expeditions to China and Sikkim: new specimens of B. colvileiB. fallowiana, and an unverified species (feel adventurous?).

Easy to Grow

Another reason for Buddleia's popularity is that it's easy to grow, even hard to kill. After one of my bushes was flattened by a windstorm, it was pruned and uprighted with little fuss. Buddleia davidii tolerates urban pollution and alkaline soil. It's generally pest-free, except for spider mite infestations during drought or stress. It performs adequately in spare soil but prefers a sunny spot with well-drained soil, a light application of fertilizer in spring, and a few deep waterings in summer.
Buddleia can behave like an opportunistic rascal. Says Dalton Durio of Louisiana Nursery, "It always seems to grow best in containers where other, more valuable plants are being grown. These volunteer seedlings come up fast and strong, and they usually succeed in killing the 'host' plant." Buddleia hybridizes easily; volunteer seedlings may not resemble your prized bush.
Butterfly Weed is not related, except for the first word.
Butterfly Bush attracts Monarchs.
Butterfly Weed hosts the larvae, I am told.
 From Norma Boeckler