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Butterfly Bushes

08/20/10 1:04PM By Charlie Nardozzi
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AP Photo/Julia Malakie
A pair of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies perch on a butterfly bush at The Butterfly Place in Westford, Mass.

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I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. Late summer is great for butterfly watching. Everyday I notice an abundance of them alighting on my flowers. If you'd like to attract butterflies to your garden, grow a butterfly bush.

Buddleia davidii is the most common species of butterfly bush. Native to China this shrub was introduced to England in the early 1900's and has been cultivated in gardens ever since. It grows 5 to 10 feet tall and wide with long, wispy branches and vivid colored flowers. It's hardy to zone 5, so in colder areas you'll have to protect it in winter or grow it as an annual. However, even if the top dies back to the ground, butterfly bushes blossom on new growth, so you'll still get flowers by late summer Select a range of varieties, such as 'Black Knight', Raspberry Eyes' and 'Blue Chip' -- a new dwarf variety that only grows 2- to 3-feet tall. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage more blossoms and to control the seeds from spreading. Butterfly bushes can become invasive. Cut back bushes to one foot tall in spring.

Now for this week's tip, got a lot of basil in the garden? Then make pesto cubes! Freeze batches of pesto in ice cube trays overnight. In the morning pop out the cubes of pesto and store them in freezer bags. It's a great space-saving way to have the taste of basil all winter, and you'll find a great pesto recipe at VPR dot net.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about the Fair! For now, I'll be seeing you in the garden!

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