Re: Do butterfly houses work?

I think that you are referring to butterfly hibernation boxes. A few
species of butterflies (at least in zone 5 & east of the great plains)
will overwinter as adults & crawl under loose bark or in hollow branches
to hibernate. Notice that I mentioned "a few species". A lot of people
think that these boxes will increase the populations of summer butterflies
(monarchs, swallowtails & such)- NOT SO. British butterfly gardeners (such
as L. Hugh Newman) claim that hibernation boxes will increase the popula-
tions of hibernationg species. I have 3 butterfly boxes that I've put out
for the last 3 winters. Since the bottom of the box should be 3-4 ft from
the ground I've never gotten up on a ladder to see if there are any butter-
flies inside. I do it on faith every fall. Butterflies will not lay eggs
on dead sticks but on pretty specific plants, which do not grow in the boxes.
If you have any other butterfly questions, please feel free to e-mail me.
A good book that discusses hibernation boxes is THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN
by Matthew Tekulsky. 

          "The more necessary anything appears to my mind, the more
           certain it is that I only assert a limitation."

G...OIBSFrom TKSJOHN@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu Sun Dec 11 22:09:38 EST 1994
Article: 49055 of rec.gardens
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From: TKSJOHN@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu (John Pedlow)
Subject: Re: Growing Cattails from Seed
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In article <misddp.250.2EE791C6@sysa.adm.duke.edu>
misddp@sysa.adm.duke.edu (Deborah Pearce) writes:
>>        I know this seems like a stupid question, what with the acres of
>>cattails that one finds in every marsh, but I have a variegated version of
>>cattail that produced two "tails" this year and I'd like to get more of them.
>>        I pulled one of the tails apart and all I see is fluff. If there are
>>seeds there, they must be extremely small. Assuming I have seed, how should
>>I germinate them? Just float them on water? Sow into a pot sitting in water?
>>Use regular potting soil?
>>        Any suggestions would be appreciated.
i collected cattail fluff in march/april (following a buffalo, ny winter)
and spread it as thinly as possible on the surface of vermiculite, dirt
and sand in a container which was in another container of water (to keep
it constantly wet).  i then sprinkled a few grains of (dry) sand on top
in case the seed required covering.  and then i sprinkled some additional
fluff on top of that (very sparsly) -- in case the seed didn't want to
be covered.  the cottage cheese container with the seed was then placed
6" under "everyday" florescent lights (with pepper and tomato seeds/
seedlings).  i seem to recall it took about a month for grass-like shoots
to appear.  then another month for them to attain any kind of size at all.
i transplanted the entire container into the garden (where i have cattails
growing).  unfortunately this clump of seedlings died during a dry spell
(i forgot to water them).  they were s-l-o-w growing... probably would
have preferred a swampy area in which to develop.  i only did this as a
lark to learn if the fluff would germinate.  it did, so i was happy.
john pedlow   in buffalo, ny        tksjohn at ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu