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A Community Butterfly Garden
Plant it and they will come
Those are easy words to say - Plant it and they will come. On my homepage of this website, I encouraged you to provide an area in your gardens for the Monarch butterfly or, for that matter, any butterfly. They are one of our pollinators and we need them now and in the future.
Can we do more?
Our community started a Butterfly Garden Club. We did many presentations on butterfly gardening and butterflies. People have added butterfly plants to their gardens. We also covered where to buy plants that are not sprayed with pesticides such as the ones at the big box stores.
What can we do as a club project?
We contacted a church and they liked the idea of a place for community butterfly gardens. Our project was born. It quickly became a JOINT project between the church members and the club members.
We had research to do. What trees/plants for nectar and host plants for the caterpillars. How big and what all needed to be done were discussed.
Many of the plants were started by seeds or cuttings. We sold some of the plants we started to fellow members of the church and club members as we needed money to buy the trees, more plants, weed cloth and other things. That was our best fund raising. We were lucky to have a person who knew how to propagate plants with good results. Many people (both from the church and the club members and others) worked hard in the gardens preparing the soil for planting and laying down the weed barrier and the many other tasks required to do. Many nurseries were visited for the specialty plants we researched and planted for the Monarchs, Sulphurs, Swallowtails and more. And one important item not to forget is taking care of the garden in the future.
Now we want to turn the gardens into a demonstration garden. We are working on figuring out how to label the plants to inspire visitors with what plants they can use in their own gardens.
The church is the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 231 Lake Griffin Road, Lady Lake, Florida, located in Central Florida. The gardens are always open to visitors; however, when church services are occurring, quietness is requested. Butterflies also do not like loud noises or motion and easily fly away. Whether you come to see what we planted or what butterflies are visiting or to try your hand at photography, I am sure you will find something to enjoy. The gardens are still a work in progress. The gardens are, of course, outdoor and we may have freezes here, so depending upon the time of the year, that will affect the condition of the garden. April and October seem to be key butterfly viewing months in the state of Florida, but I have easily seen and counted 10 or more species in a 15 minute period during the hot summer.
We have planted over 1,300 plants/trees on 2/3 of an acre of land. The project quickly grew and I think that we should have started smaller and grown from there, but it is there. We started this the beginning of 2015, so the garden is young. My husband and I had a small part working in the garden.
Here are just some of the plants we have in the garden:
Left, Porterweed. Center, Ironweed. Right, Pipevine.
Left, Giant Milkweed and Beach Sunflower. Right, Sugarberry tree.