20130711-170710.jpg Sometimes a strategy ecologically savvy landscape designers use to decide what to plant where on a property is to observe what plants are already growing and use them as ecological indicator species. The new butterfly garden in Malta, NY, installed over the past week was subject to this ecological landscape design technique.

20130711-172239.jpg This Asclepias tuberosa (Orange Butterflyweed) volunteer plant was present at the north end of the beds. Asclepias tuberosa is the larval host plant for Monarch butterflies. The decision to add 7 more Orange Butterflyweed plants was a cinch, knowing how beautiful they are, that they are nearly guaranteed success based on the presence of the volunteer indicator plant, and knowing how beneficial to the ecosystem they are by building Monarch butterfly habitat.

20130711-172719.jpg Asclepias tuberosa in bloom.
Elsewhere in the existing gardens I noted Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) and Fragaria sp. (Strawberry). More strawberries were added underneath the Crabapple tree and we simply applied compost around the copious Yarrow to encourage it’s natural trajectory.

20130711-174650.jpg Several shrubs were planted in the gardens to give the gardens a structured shape, including Clethra alnifolia (Clethra Ruby Spice), Amelanchier arborea (Serviceberry) and Senna marilandica (Senna).

20130711-175739.jpg This low maintenance landscape design will attract many species of butterflies, and offer habitat for them. There are many native plants that will act as a nectar supply for adult butterflies and larval hosts for caterpillars.

20130711-180609.jpg Designing environmentally friendly gardens in Saratoga County is a treat, as the native plant selection in Saratoga is vast and the ecosystem of Saratoga County is spectacular.

20130711-181116.jpg One Datmansia (Moonflower) annual shrub was added to give the landscape some flair this year as the native plants fill in. The new butterfly garden in Malta, NY will be a positive influence on the surrounding ecosystem as birds move the seeds around to wooded edges and the natural habitat becomes repopulated with more locally grown native plants.