Apparently, March 12 is Plant a Flower Day! Who determines these things? I have no idea.
Anyway, I thought I would encourage you to participate in this holiday while providing some tools to allow you to take part in an environmentally-friendly way. When you plant a flower, it's important to not just plant any flower but plant something that is native to your region and/or pollinator friendly!
Photo credit: Me. Or possibly my husband. I can't remember.
"But how do I know which flowers are native to my area?" I can hear you shouting into your smartphone or laptop. Stop shouting! It's going to be okay! One of the best resources you can find for information about local plants and flowers are Master Gardeners (find some in your area here!). Master Gardeners are volunteers who have been rigorously trained in the science of gardening and horticulture. I've met several Master Gardeners (they often have booths at community events) and they have always been incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to help. Contact them with any questions you may have!
Another wonderful resource for finding flowers to plant that are both local and good for butterflies is the Native Plant Finder tool created by the National Wildlife Federation. Click here to use it! All you have to do to find local species is enter your zip code. The tool will then provide you with several categories of local plant species. In the right hand corner of each image is a butterfly symbol with a number next to it. That number indicates the number of butterfly and moth species that can use them as hosts for caterpillars!
Photo credit: Me.
In terms of gardening for the benefit of pollinators, the resources above are useful but I did want to give you some pollinator-specific ones, too. The Pollinator Partnership provides location-specific, very in-depth guides to what your local pollinators need. Bee City USA has a fantastic step-by-step resource that walks you through the process of creating a pollinator-friendly space. For more tips on the dos and don'ts of attracting pollinator species, visit the USDA's Gardening for Pollinators page. These are just some of the many helpful resources you can find on the subjects of pollinator gardens, butterfly gardens, and local plant species.
So get out there! Plant a (local, pollinator-friendly) flower!