Garden Photo of the Day

Nancy’s butterfly (and more!) garden in South Carolina

Tiger swallowtail in spring lillies.

Today’s photos are from Nancy Edelman, who says, “I live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and I have a large butterfly garden. My garden is around 10 years old, but it changes every year. It has rained more than usual this summer and it is a veritable jungle out there.

Spring garden.

The garden is a mix of perennials both for nectar and for host plants for butterflies, vines, roses, flowering evergreens, berry bushes, and flowering deciduous trees. It changes with the seasons, but also with the migrating of plants. The black-eyed Susans and Mexican petunias (Ruellia simplex) are in danger of taking over.

See the two turtles under the phlox?

Because of the late spring cold snap this year we are seeing far fewer butterflies than normal. But now the passion vine is full of gulf fritillary caterpillars and the fennel has 6 black swallowtail chrysalis and several caterpillars. The cloudless sulphurs are just showing up, along with a few spicebush and tiger swallowtails.

Bird feeding tree, a petrified cedar

The garden also hosts many reptiles, including black and corn snakes, and turtles, skinks, anoles, and toads, and the birds frequent the bird feeders and eat the berries, especially the blueberries. Every year we have a pair of hummingbirds who make our garden their home. It is truly a live garden.”

July Garden

Wow, Nancy, your garden is beautiful, and your photos are stunning! Butterflies are so……wonderful seems an inadequate word. Thanks so much for submitting photos!

Female monarch on milkweed

Keep sending in photos of your gardens, everyone!

Palamedes on azaleas
Sulphur on sage
Female black swallowtail
Gulf fritillary
Gulf fritillary and caterpillar on passion vine
Swallowtail caterpillar on fennel

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View Comments


  1. perenniallycrazy 08/21/2014

    Simply amazing Nancy!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/22/2014

    What a thoroughly delightful series of pictures, Nancy. Thank you so very much for sharing your considerable knowledge and including the names of the various butterflies and caterpillars in your pictures. Love how you have given your petrified cedar an extended lease on usefulness as it serves as a very popular feeding station for the birds. Your enthusiasm for your partnership with nature is inspiring and contagious.

  3. terieLR 08/22/2014

    Thank you Nancy for the reminder to stop, watch and keep snapping shots of those flying flowers. The photo of your Gulf fritillary and caterpillar is divine. What a magical garden. It must be such a joy for all who view.

  4. NCYarden 08/22/2014

    Astounding. I can relate to the "veritable jungle" this year, but there's something refreshing about temporarily being buried in that all that plant goodness...even something a little wildly liberating. Die back (with cleanup) and pruning will come soon enough. I love the lush fullness in you garden, just as the wildlife does. Keep those critters happy. Thanks for sharing tons of beauty.

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 08/22/2014

    Wonderful! I've been crazy about butterflies since I could be crazy about anything! Congrats on your great success. I've actually seen more butterflies this year here in central Ohio than any previous year. I've been planting more and more hummingbird- and butterfly-plants, but have found that my garden is also extremely welcoming to caterpillar predators!

  6. greengenes 08/22/2014

    Well Nancy, you have inspired me to grow more plants for the butterflies! Your photography is great and the variety is awesome. Here in Washington state I usually only see the swallowtail and one other smaller dark colored one but this year we haven't seen but two swallowtails! Its all so very beautiful and natural looking. Love it! Thanks for sharing and have a great fall!

  7. thevioletfern 08/22/2014

    Oh you have the fourth dimension - life! That makes the garden. What a beautiful, magical garden you have. I have butterfly envy. I have seen hardly a butterfly and the Joe Pye's in bloom! But now I know why, they are in your garden! I do have many many bees, though.

  8. thevioletfern 08/22/2014

    Oh, and I LOVE your bird feeding tree!

  9. sheila_schultz 08/22/2014

    Nancy, your butterfly garden is beautifully wild and lush with a whole lot of magic going on! It's magnificent.

  10. schatzi 08/22/2014

    Wow! I simply have to plant more butterfly magnets! Your garden is gorgeous, alive, inspiring! Love the "flutterby" photos with names, and the blue accents. Love it all!

  11. Meelianthus 08/22/2014

    BEAUTIFUL ! Nancy and how fortunate you are to have all the wonderful wildlife.

  12. schatzi 08/22/2014

    Greengenes - where in WA do you live? I am south of Seattle, east of Tacoma. It has been a splendid summer, with heavy rain when we really needed it without Mother Nature losing it and just raining into the winter. Everything is growing rampantly. One curiosity - one of my hellebores, which are supposed to be winter blooming, has been blooming all summer?? Are we confused or what? It is beautiful all the same.

  13. BethinIowa 08/22/2014

    What a perfect paradise. I wish I could meander through at my leisure right now! Your photos are really superb.

  14. kershawgirl 08/23/2014

    Wondering what kind of milkweed you have growing. I am in Sandhills SC and have been trying to find some nauralized seeds for this area, and have not been successful.

  15. GrannyCC 08/23/2014

    Gorgeous garden and wonderful photography.

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