The most famous butterfly - the monarch - is rather rare here. It spends the summer farther north in the upper Midwest and Canada, but on its migration south to Mexico it sometimes makes layovers in Colorado.
The journey of the monarch is quite remarkable as it makes its way to its winter habitat. Its beauty is also remarkable, with wings seemingly made of orange, paper thin stained glass.
I spotted my first monarch of the season a few days ago. It was perched appropriately on my butterfly bush. Attracting a migrating monarch to your garden is reason enough to plant this handsome shrub, properly known as Buddleia. Its small, fragrant flowers are held in pointed spires, similar to that of a lilac. The flowers may be purple, lavender, violet, pink or white. Butterflies seem to like each color equally.
Butterfly bushes start to bloom in midsummer and continue into fall. Deadheading keeps them going and keeps them attractive. The monarchs have never paid attention to any flower in the garden except the butterfly bush.
Although the shrub is hardy here, it is considered a "cut back" plant. Its stems usually die back considerably over the winter, so it's best to cut the stems to about a foot or so each spring. This helps to rejuvenate the plant and makes it more compact and bushy. Plant it in a sunny spot where you can enjoy the beauty of the monarchs.
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