School Butterfly Garden
We were once approached by a local elementary school’s gardening advocate. A parent activist volunteers for the school gardening club. She wanted to create a school butterfly garden. The garden site is located inside a courtyard, and landscape renovations have been underway there for several years. The kids were excited to learn about creating a welcoming environment for butterflies in their school butterfly garden. They had a ton of energy to express helpfully.
Habitat gardens for children are such a good investment of time and resources. The ecosystem gets a new source of native plants, and the seeds are planted for future eco-warriors of the next generation.
The kids eagerly helped rip out the existing Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii), which we replaced with Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus floridus). We talked about native species host plants, and that a real butterfly garden needs to have the specialized species that baby butterflies (aka caterpillars) need. There were areas for sun loving native plants, and shade tolerant natives too. We focused on offering butterflies both, nectar and larval host species in our planning. For example, Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) is a host plant for the Swallowtail butterfly family. And Joe Pye (Eupatorium spp) is a late blooming rich nectar source plant.