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May 11, 2013

New fall butterfly migration festival coming to Noble

NORMAN — A new festival is coming to Noble.

Monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico each fall and Oklahoma is smack dab in the middle of the flyway.

“The butterfly festival is a go,” said Bob Wade, Noble city manager, adding that although the date of the festival and other details are still in the planning stages, it’s official — “a one-day, family oriented, environmentally-friendly event” is on the way.

Since monarchs migrate in fall, the festival will be in late September or early October.

Now is the time to plan for the festival by planting shrubs that attract butterflies. According to the Monarch Butterfly Information website, the milkweed plant is the primary food source for the monarch pupa or caterpillar. Also known as a butterfly bush, milkweed comes in several varieties, according to Butterflybushes.com. But these and other butterfly-attracting plant varieties are available locally.

Rick Grissom and Geri McGinnis of Grissom’s Landscape Nursery in Noble said they have 3-gallon butterfly bushes in stock.

McGinnis said the chaste vitex, a fast-growing shrub with purple flowers, appeals to butterflies, as does summer-blooming Carolina jasmine with yellow flowers and the fall-blooming crepe myrtle, which comes in many varieties. Marigolds, zinnias, verbena and lantana also attract them.

Noble residents are encouraged to beautify their yards with plants and flowers that will attract butterflies. These flowers are available at many local nurseries including Grissom’s, 408 N. 2nd St., and J&M Bedding Plants, 514 N. Main St., in Noble. Employees at both nurseries said they have these plants in stock. More details will come, but for now, Wade said he expects the festival to include outdoor wellness activities such as walking, biking and perhaps a picnic.

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