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.