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Majestic monarchs

At least once each summer, I write a column about butterflies. Of all the visitors to the garden, the winged ones are my favorites. I can sit on the front steps for an entire afternoon, just observing and snapping photos of the continuous action of the flying beauties that hover over the flowers, searching for the sweetest nectar.

Jim and I plant native perennials and shrubs to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. The current garden includes summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), purple coneflower (Echinacea spp.), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum), and obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana). This spring, we added common boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) and garden phlox (Phlox paniculata).

The rewards are great. Every summer, the garden is filled with flitting butterflies and buzzing bumblebees. Skippers, fritillaries, and swallowtails of all sizes and colors spend their days amid the flowers.

During the first season of the new garden,...

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