December 16, 2017
You know spring is here when everyone races down to Point Peele to glimpse the migration wave of birds. On the same migration path are the beautiful red admiral butterflies. Just yesterday, we had our first red admiral show up at the nursery. Although just starting to show signs of life, the red admiral was already scoping out the stinging nettle. Believe it or not, stinging nettle is the larval plant for this creature. Most people shy away from planting stinging nettle, but keep the plant contained in pots and hide it in the back of your garden. Plant all your flowering plants in front and you will have this butterfly call your garden home.
I warn you, they are territorial. You may think it is your garden, but the red admiral will jealously protect the stinging nettle. Even though their adult food is rather unusual consisting of sap from trees, rotting fruit and bird droppings, I find these butterflies adore the oriole feeders that I place grape jelly on. And remember to be pollinator friendly, NO SPRAYING.