Will I be able to observe the life-cycle of the butterflies in these gardens?

All 3 of these types of gardens will attract a variety of butterflies; however, if you want to raise second-generation butterflies you will have to plant the flowers used by the butterfly for laying eggs and for eating. For the Monarch this will be milkweed. Not an easy weed to establish, but it does spread well once it takes root. If you buy milkweed seeds make sure that you get planting directions as well. The seeds need to winter in a refrigerator or underground to germinate and we had no luck at all with purchased seeds because they didn't come with directions! We did well transplanting local milkweed into the garden, keeping it well watered, and letting it spread throughout the bed.

If you are interested in observing the Swallowtail butterfly you will need Parsley or Dill beds and you will need to plant them every other year as they are bi-annual. Once the cycle is up and running we have parsley returning and the Swallowtails with it. We haven't had much luck with bringing the Swallowtail into the classroom and waiting for spring emergance. In fact we're batting zero in my room and have only 1 hatched in another classroom. They seem to do better if left outside in their natural environment.

If you are trying to attract a specific butterfly, find out what type of plant it lays its eggs on and what it eats and plant those in your garden. It's a lot of fun and the children really get excited and involved. We even have Hummingbirds visiting and we have added plants to attract them as well.

Just remember, it's not as difficult to start a butterfly garden as it might seem.  It's a lot of physical labor but the feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment of the finished product far outweigh the sore muscles.  When the soreness leaves you still have the finished product to enjoy for years to come!