Though Evansville is a city rather built on the ideas of commercialization & urban sprawl, the far-West side of town, where my husband grew up & where his family still lives, is filled with gorgeous, green country. Many houses are surrounded by (corn) fields, & the home we’ve been staying at–with one of Joe’s sisters–is surrounded by trees AND butterflies.
This is largely thanks to the butterfly bush that grows near the deck. The bush has endless numbers of flowers that the members of the swallowtail butterfly family flock to. One morning, I counted ten just on one portion of the bush.
A word of caution before you run out to plant your own butterfly bush: the plant is considered an invasive species in many parts of the state, as its endless blooms spread & drown on more fragile, native species. The problem has gone so far as to cause a ban of butterfly bush in Oregon*.
Yes, the plant helps the garden pollinate. Yes, it brings beautiful hummingbirds & butterflies, but it’s important to think about the effect the plant will have on the natural, native ecosystem as a whole. If you feel you must have a butterfly bush, preventing it from ever going to seed is one way to keep it from becoming invasive. For more tips, check out this Oregon State University article.
F0rtunately for those here in Evansville, as our handy map indicates, the butterfly bush is not yet an invasive species in Indiana. States in green have recognized the species as detrimental to native ecosystems. Since we don’t have to feel bad about the butterfly bush I’ve spent the last few days watching, let’s check out some pictures of the swallowtail!