Out in the garden

June 11, 2008


For the past few weeks, the Cockrell Butterfly Center Staff and Dedicated Greenhouse volunteers have been busy enhancing the exterior Butterfly Demonstration Garden. The garden is located outside the Main Hall exit near the Cockrell Butterfly Center’s entrance doors. This garden comes complete with a stone path, an arch for a climbing Passionflower vine and lots of beautiful red, blue, yellow and white blooming nectar sources.  We also make available the host plants for the caterpillars to feed on. Permanently affixed to the center of the garden, sits a framed pictorial directory of host plants and nectar plants. We are in the process of updating the poster with some new species which we feel perform well for the garden and its all important visitors the delightful, graceful, jewels with wings.  If you want to see what a specimen plant that is listed on our Butterfly Gardening brochure looks like, this demonstration garden is a great place to start.

While we worked in the garden, we were visited by Phoebis sennae, Sulphur butterflies. These are the yellow ones quite often seen in our great city. A Papilio cresphontes, Giant Swallowtail, spent about 20 minutes laying eggs on the Wafer ash tree. Other visitors were the Battus polydamas, also called the” Goldrim,” happily feasting upon the Bauhinia mexicana blooms.


We were visited by quite a few squirrels busily scampering about up and down the tree trunks.  A female red breasted robin was busy teaching her young ones how to retrieve the earth worms erupting from the fresh earth as we turned it over with our shovels. Our time spent in the garden was a nature nurturing delight.

Just beyond the roped fence, sits a paved patio with picnic tables shaded by large cloth umbrellas available for visitors to enjoy their lunch.  Not a day goes by that you don’t see native species of butterflies fluttering about while you munch on your lunch. Next time you are at the museum, take time to view this garden and see what plants you might want to place in your own garden.  Feel free to pick up a free Butterfly Gardening Brochure available on the plant cart outside of the Collector’s gift shop.

Authored By Ory Roberts

Ory is the Greenhouse Manager/Rearing Coordinator for the Cockrell Butterfly Center. Didn’t know there was a greenhouse at the Museum? She raises 20,000 Heliconius longwing butterflies there, as well as thousands of host and nectar plants for butterfly gardening. Check out her posts for more information on gardening with nature.

2 responses to “Out in the garden”

  1. Joanne says:

    This article was so descriptive! I felt like I was there! I’d like to see more pieces by this author – My daughters and I read it together!!!

  2. Erin says:

    Hi Joanne,

    Thanks for reading! I am so glad to hear that you and your daughters enjoy the blog. Ory is one of our regular contributors, so I am sure you’ll see another post from her soon. We love feedback, so leave us comments or questions whenever you’d like and we’ll get back to you. Thanks again!

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