"His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred."
~ Ernest Hemingway
Spring is springing early this year, as recorded by the Tropical Milkweed plants budding that were cut back towards the end of December last year. These particular plants were already budding in the middle of January! Usually during this month, subtropicals such as these are still bare-boned twigs jutting out of larger sticks poking up out of the ground.
'Tis time to give garden plants their first taste of fertilizer for the season. The last frost date for the container butterfly garden in its USDA Plant Hardiness Zone is traditionally February 15th. I usually start out with a liquid fertilizer tonic to jump start plants, switching over to granular foods later for their ability to feed for longer periods of time vs. their liquid counterparts. Plus, I'm inherently lazy: no need to fertilize as often.
As for butterflies, we should start seeing Painted Lady butterflies fairly regularly, as they are one of the earliest to arrive if they aren't locally overwintering.