I love a good symmetrical flower bed with groupings and a uniform look just as much as the next guy. But, today we're going to give the floor to the more "cottage-y" look. The whimsical and wispy type. The kind that attracts all of those pollinators and keeps the world going 'round.
I've quickly realized I'm into white. Buuut, the key to a good butterfly garden is color! Because of that I've slowly added in. Mostly pastels... but baby steps, right?
For my apartment dwelling, house renting readers or those who just don't like digging. This post is still for you! Many of these plants will be just fine in a pot!! So get to planting your mini-butterfly gardens all around.
To get started, let's quickly address bed arrangements. Since many of my flowers die back in the winter I decided to incorporate a few flowering evergreen shrubs in my bed. All in the back. I also added a few roses, which I'll touch on later. You'll want to arrange your beds with the tallest in the back and the shortest up front. A lot of perennials can get up to 3 feet, so you'll have a lot of height! If that's all you want, then great! If not, be very conscious to save some room upfront for shorter plants.
The plants I'm about to suggest are annuals and perennials in growing zone 8. So if you live in a different zone, do a little research to see how these guys would do for you! Let's jump in!
x Gaura. This one grows to be about 3 ft tall and wide. I have one with a pale pink bloom and accents of a darker pink.
x Agastache. I have the Blue Fortune which can grow to be about 3 feet tall. And the Poquito Orange, which is a bit more compact and only gets to about about 2 ft tall and wide. It also has fresh minty smelling leaves.
x Bush Daisy. This guy is around 3 feet tall and wide.
x Bee balm. This one can get up to 4 feet! Woah!
(Left to right: Gaura, blue fortune agastache, poquito orange agastache, bush daisy)
x Petunias. With so many options, this flower is a great way to add your favorite color to your space. I will say as it heats up in the summer, these flowers will begin to struggle a bit. If you ever stumble upon the Bubblegum Petunia... GET IT!! It thrives even in the heat. Which means blooms through the summer and into the fall! Supertunias are great in general if you cant find Bubblegums specifically.
x Snow Princess (lobularia). A great low growing flower for the forefront of your garden.
x Sunflower. A show stopper for the back of your bed.
x Salvia. There are perennial versions of this one as well if you love it!
(Left to right: snow princess (low growing white blooms in the first two pictures) and salvia)
So back to those roses. They can be kept at whatever size is best and they keep their leaves all year most bloom on and off again through the year as well. For that reason, I put my roses either in the back or the middle, but never really in the front. Check your variety for height details! I have one long stemmed Tea Rose and a few Floribunda.
For any of these I recommend Osmocote to keep those blooms blooming. It's a slow release fertilizer which means it will do its job for 4 months! I like to sprinkle it in the hole before I plant. I sometimes do it again if I do a hard chop on a plant. Or if I notice the blooms aren't happening as frequently even though it's still their "growing season." With my perennials, I re-apply each year when I know they're about to bloom again.
Good luck to you. Feel free to reach out if you're taking this on and want some advice! If you build it... they will come. Seriously. It's crazy how suddenly the bees, butterflies and even hummingbirds appear out of nowhere! Don't forget to share any of your newly designed beds with me! I can't wait to see what you come up with!