Entry for August 13, 2007
Once again, the Richland County Master Gardeners gathered at Vicki and Ralph Bright's house in Lucas, Ohio for our fabulous picnic. The Bright's have the most amazing gardens which include an extensive hosta collection and many exotic plants that I would be hard pressed to identify. Right there in the mix, beautifully holding their own, are many native Ohio plants. You just can't improve on a good thing.
And in my opinion, one of the best flowers ever for attracting butterflies is the Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea. One of those heat and drought hardy prairie plants, butterflies love to nectar on those bright purple-pink flowers. Herbalists will tell of the medicinal properties as well; it is said to have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Germany actually produces more of this plant for medical purposes than its native state. One more added attraction is the American Goldfinches fighting for its seed in the fall.
The butterfly too, is worthy of note. A Meadow Fritillary, Beloria bellona and his friends were out doing themselves this evening. Although they are said to be common in Ohio, they are not usually a "backyard" species, unless you live near some pretty damp areas. Again, these are more likely to be found near streams and bogs and use violets for their host plants. So it was fun to see them at the MG party and everyone else too! Thanks Ralph and Vicki :)