Memorial Butterfly Garden

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Memorial Butterfly Garden

Written by Carol Ann Stroud

Dedicated to Ashley Deal

The Parker County Master Gardener Association designed and installed the Butterfly Garden in the summer of 2003.

Located on the grounds of Chandor Gardens, this beautiful garden was dedicated as a memorial to a Weatherford city employee’s little girl who lost her life in a tragic accident.

It was designed to beautify the parking area and serve as a platform for promoting conservation of many species of endangered “flying flowers.” Visitors are encouraged to learn about the special requirements of these beautiful creatures and incorporate similar habitats in their own gardens. Butterflies are delightful accessories in flower gardens, memorial-butterfly-garden-sign but they also play a significant role-in the food chain. They provide food for birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Pesticides must not be applied on or around plants that attract beneficial insects because poisons will harm or kill any animal, bird, or reptile that has a contaminated food supply. There are many books that give excellent recommendations for butterfly gardens. This garden is just one example that demonstrates what will make butterflies feel welcome anywhere.

Just like all creatures, butterflies have different requirements during each stage of their life cycle. They must have shelter from inclement weather and places to roost and hide from predators. Larvae need food and when they are ready to enter their pupae stage they seek out safe, tucked-away places. Adults must have nectar plants and places to bask, court, and lay eggs. Water is imperative and “puddling” (damp, muddy) places are very desirable because of the nutrients they contain. Rocks in sunny spots are important for basking (getting those beautiful wings warmed up after cool nights). Logs and trees are highly desired because of the safety they offer during all stages.

All of the plants, rocks, logs, and containers in this garden supply the necessities required for the completion of life cycles of a variety of butterflies. A brief description is offered below.

Left side of path
The variety of fragrant, colorful iris scattered along the path and throughout the garden delights visitors in spring. These old-fashioned gems are a great addition to any garden. Clusters of lavender-blue flowers on leggy stems float above the low foliage of Butterfly Blue scabiosa (pincushion flower) from spring through fall. They are great for borders, add color and contrast in gardens, and are a fine source of nectar. Willowy white guara is the close neighbor of its cousin, pink guara. Their profusion of delicate blooms on leggy sterns beckons visitors to come a little closer to admire them. In the heat of summer, fragrant, tubular pink flowers adorn the desert willow tree behind the concrete bench.

Its neighbors on the right/north are two huge clumps of dramatic pampas grass.

Two clumps of dwarf love grass are between the pampas grasses.

Three clumps of black fountain grass are in front of the love grass. Their large, airy black plumes have been known to cause visitors to fall in love with native grasses.

Three clumps of Moudry fountain grass are in a row along the brick path edging in front of the other grasses.

The Pendula (weeping) yaupon holly in the southwest corner provides food, shelter, and places to lay eggs on the underside of its leaves.

At the base of the yaupon, flat clusters of blue flowers above the carpet-type foliage of perennial verbena make ideal landing pads for butterflies seeking nectar.

In early spring, brilliant, deep-yellow blooms seem to explode along the branches of forsythia shrubs on each side of the weeping yaupon. Snowy white clusters of tiny blooms are scattered along the arching branches of a bridal wreath spiraea shrub that is near the weeping yaupon.

Sedum outlines the bed.

Its neighbors on the right/north are two huge clumps of dramatic pampas grass.

Two clumps of dwarf love grass are between the pampas grasses.

Right side of path

In front of the utility pole, perennial coreopsis provides abundant bouquets of yellow, daisy-type blooms sporadically from spring through fall.

Behind the coreopsis are masses of hardy fall asters. Sky-blue flowers with yellow centers cover them like a lovely quilt in early fall when they offer their nectar to butterflies.

The low, fuzzy silver foliage of lamb’s ear lines the inside edge of the path to the little concrete bench.

A Pride of Houston yaupon holly shrub is behind the utility pole. The feathery foliage of bronze fennel, next to the yaupon holly, is a favorite of swallowtails in their caterpillar stage. Although they usually strip the plant of foliage, it will put out new growth again.

Swallowtail caterpillars also love to eat the curled parsley and plain Italian parsley that grows on each side of the statue of the little girl on the bench.

The young sweetgum tree, in front of five juniper shrubs on the right/north side of the utility pole, has five-lobed leaves that turn brilliant yellow or crimson in the fall. Its fruit is a spiny ball.

At the far right/north end of the bed, clumps of spring-blooming white oxeye daisies share the spotlight with the attention-getting broken pot that spills out an avalanche of seasonal annual color throughout the year.