Saturday, February 7, 2009

A better home for butterflies

The gardening books say the time to prune butterfly bushes (buddleia davidii) is immediately before spring growth starts (large photo). Seeing the forsythia and Bradford pears starting to bust out in today's 63-degree weather sent me to the shed for the pruning shears.

Now, here's the problem. I have a somewhat deserved reputation in pruning circles as Darth Vader. If one is supposed to prune with the skill of a surgeon and scalpel, I am closer to a lumberjack and chain saw. But I've been reading my pruning books and I vow to do better. Our butterfly bushes in our front yard attract butterflies by the hundreds.

One pruning book says to cut the old butterfly canes all the way to the ground. Another says to leave 3 to 6 inches. I tried to do 3 inches (small photo). The last butterfly bush I pruned, it had to be replaced. I hope I have done this year's bushes correctly or Madame Butterfly will likely take the shears to me.

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