Shan Wheeler, Master Gardener Intern
If you love butterflies but have either a shady garden with little sun to induce flower production or mostly evergreen flowerless bushes, you can still lure those beautiful creatures to their very own butterfly heaven by a couple of simple methods. Every gardener enjoys seeing butterflies coming to their garden.
A butterfly feeder can be fabricated from a Mason jar. Using twine, cut two pieces of string that are 48″ long. Wrap each string around the neck of the jar and tie a knot. The two knots should be opposite each other. You will now have four ends of string extending from the jar; take one string from opposing knots and tie another knot, knotting them ever higher, basically making a net (sort of like macramé) to keep the jar upright & steady when hung up-side down. When finished, use a washer to tie the twine together for stability. One could also hot glue colorful silk flowers to the top (which is the bottom when hanging properly!). Use a hammer and nail to poke a hole into the Mason jar’s lid (it can be enlarged as necessary). Cut a 1” x ¼” strip from a sponge; pull the sponge long-ways through the hole until about ½ is through. It should be a tight enough fit that it does not drip when it is tested with sugar water – if it does drip, cut a bigger section of sponge and redo. Mix 1 part granulated sugar to 10 parts water, pour into the jar, tightly screw on the lid & hang upside down. Make sure the liquid saturates the sponge.
Or, for an even simpler method, use a beverage cup with a screw-on lid. Work the string as suggested above using hot glue to adhere the string to the cup; then use the hole in its lid, formerly for the straw, to pull through your sponge – you have a butterfly feeder! This is a fun project to do with your kiddos.