DescriptionA great friend of mine (boyfriend at the time, still great friends) had property in the country that needed some TLC. He had an above ground pool that was taken down, but had left the deck up. He let me design a beautiful butterfly garden in that spot in March of 2011, and by August it was full of annuals he had started from his greenhouse. It looked great that first summer. (see photo of me in garden, vegetable garden in the back ground). Once Facebook came along I noticed people certifying theur gardens through the National Wildlife Federation, and as a landscaper (since 1999) I really wanted to do this, and did just that. It took me a while to re-plant host plants for butterflies to show up, but when they did, I was so excited to start raising a few. It started with black swallowtails, then monarchs, then ladies, viceroy, tiger swallowtail, spicebush, and this season new species of red admiral and a surprise caterpillar in that remains a question-mark butterfly. That Westport garden has grown in eight years and now there is no more room in the front yard. I added seating, a pond, arbors, a glass bottle tree with solar lights and one big tulip tree for my favorite butterfly, the tiger swallowtail.
I live in the city (Fall River, Massachusetts) and wanted to raise the butterflies at home indoors instead of out, so I fixed the attic up and turned it into a butterfly central room and planted a small host garden for each species that I had raised outdoors in Westport. I now raise many butterflies in my attic from Westport and Fall River. I gather eggs and now just raise indoors.
I wish I could certify the city garden but can't have the shelter part because of house sparrows galore! That's okay, I love both of my gardens and both are doing a great job attracting my butterflies, along with bees and moths.
-Story contributed by Bernadette B.