Turn Your Garden into Butterfly Heaven

Study after study has shown that communing with nature improves folks’ mental and physical health—and even increases their productivity at work. But you don’t have to trek off on a photographic safari to enjoy these benefits.

Something as simple as watching butterflies flit around your backyard works just as well. They’ll show up in droves if you plant a wide assortment of nectar-rich flowers, but you’ll entice them even more quickly (and get a close-up view, besides) if you install a nectar feeder or two near your house.

You can buy special butterfly feeders, but my advice is, don’t waste your money! The reason: Nearly all of these devices come equipped with a moat that you fill with water, which is supposed to keep crawling insects out of the sweet syrup. But a lot of small butterflies also get trapped in the water, often with fatal results.

Fortunately, there’s a simple—and safer—way to serve refreshments. Just get a thin, green, plastic-fiber scrubbing pad in the Laundry & Cleaning Products aisle, and saturate it with sugar water (1 part water to 4 parts white sugar is good). Set the pad on a plastic plate that you’ve screwed to a post or other flat surface.

Then sit back and wait for the show to begin!