Friday, April 19, 2013

Baldwin County Heritage Museum Butterfly Garden... Options? Suggestions?

Forgive the second post, but I wanted to post these for the museum.

Yesterday, the Baldwin County Heritage Museum held a "garden party"  We cut, pruned, and mulched azaleas.  It was hot and wouldn't you know it is much cooler.  When finishing up, the director was talking about how he would really like for the butterfly garden to be better? is what he said.  Don't remember exactly what he said but something to that effect.  This butterfly garden (below) sits outside of a vintage church that was approved to have weddings.  In an effort to make it more attractive, he said it needed to be more groomed..(still can't remember what he said exactly).  In any event, I started thinking about it.    Suggestions, comments, advice is welcome....

 Here is what it looks like now.  It does have some plants in it designed to attract butterflies.  If memory serves, I want to say the boy scouts help build it?  I want to maintain the integrity of the bed.  My thinking is to move the plants out...for the moment.  Make it a raised bed.  Amend the soil heavily.  Leave the pipes in place but put wood or some other type of material for the exterior.  It is in a shady spot.  I did notice a water spigot not terribly far away.  But that being said, started considering ideas to spruce it up.  First I played with the landscape editor....It will look nothing like this but I wanted to play around with it.
Those are banana trees on the corners.   Believe it or not, I do have banana trees but I put those there because I felt like it needed dimension.  So I am really not suggesting banana trees but something of height.  It also needs a focal point.  I have a bird bath topper and it just so happens that the museum has a bird bath bottom....awesome.  For the moment I put a sundial in to replace the fountain.  I do have sky pencils and junipers but I do feel it needed to be less "flat"
Currently it has piping.  The butterfly garden is not at my discretion to decide.  Just playing with ideas.  I would be inclined to leave the piping and put wood outside of it?

This is the church that the butterfly garden is next too.  This is the vantage point from the garden to the church

Heavy shading but it gets real hot here.  I think it's a good spot for hydrangeas.  So options now...

I do have two bottlebrushes one in a pot and this one which is in a bad spot.

I have Mexican petunias and cashmere bouquets.  Very drought tolerant but invasive.

Indian blanketflower is very drought tolerant but will it like the shade?

I think I have wild butterfly bush all over the place if this is what it is.

Begonias are drought tolerant and like shade.

Ferns do well 

Here is the bird bath topper serving as a planter.  Inside is moss roses

I have tons of large plants like gardenia pittosporum, crepe mytle to name a few

Also have tons of hydrangea and lorapetelum

These are mostly annuals.  Lot of coleus, zinnia, the rest are rose cuttings and miniature roses.

Sky pencils and junipers

The tree above can be pruned more to give more light

I have wild lantana which I do think would fare well there.

Wild ferns

Not excessively quick to part with my plants, I have been taking care of their roses.  One of them is call Stormy Weather...actually there are four.  Click HERE for more information on the rose.   I have never cared if a rose had fragrance but this one has changed my opinion of it.
There is a low lying vine I would love to "layer" to root and take it home in a couple of months.  I have to "peg" them horizontal soon while the canes are still soft.

Here is the low lying cane.  I will wound it, put rootone on it.  Put dirt under the wood and use a sod staple to keep it down.  In a month or two, it should root nicely.  For the cutting I would be able to part with some plants.  The rose is fabulous.

As mentioned, we pruning azaleas.  The museum is filled with beautiful azaleas and camellias.  There were about 7 of us yesterday and it took forever to get this done.  After my  work ends I think I'll take the hedger over there and clean as much as I can.  I did lay out fertilizer after we were through in anticipation for rain.

See the azaleas behind these.  It took a lot to get them from that height to this height.

They made a walking path and now you can see the General Store they built on the grounds.

While perusing I came across this post...I assume from the comment poster below.  Who has a whole blog post on the subject that I wanted to put in here for reference.
Click here for the post on butterfly gardens on Secrets of a Seed Scatterer


Jean Campbell said...

I do know about butterflies in the Gulf South. My personal 'butterfly garden' is the whole garden with choice nectar plants along 'corridors' to attract.

let's start with what the Museum has. Despite the choice of a shady location, I see easy access from open spaces, toward the Church and through the trees.

The Boy Scouts obviously spent a lot of time on this project. What are the dimensions? Is there room to reconfigure so that paths can go through the butterfly area, maybe using the pipes to keep visitors out of the beds?

Looking at picture #3, I see little lavender blooms of Lantana montevidensis, trailing lantana. Butterflies love it. It should grow to 3-4 feet in diameter, even in shade. To the right of it looks like St. John's Wort, a nice native but not much visited by butterflies in my garden.

I think what the director meant about "more groomed" was that he wished somebody to pull weeds and dig out catbriers, like the small one at the bottom of pic #7. Can they get the Scouts to come back and work on maintenance?

Given such a small space, I would be reluctant to add plants purely for decoration that will not be used as either nectar plants or caterpillar food.

Instead of big blue hydtrangeas, I would use native Oakleaf hydrangea which grows more upright and is visited by butterflies. Tara prunes hers as trees, which gives even more room for shorter plants.

Gaillardias (blanket flower) attracts several including pearl fritillaries. I think it can take a little shade.

I need a better ID on your 'Wild butterfly bush' but if you've seen butterflies on it, why not? It may be verbain or Ironweed. The same with Cashmere Bouquet, it will just need shovel pruning when it sends out runners.

Do you know what all those little blue blossoms are in some of the pics? if not, can you get a close up pic or two?

There are some great annual butterfly plants from seed, Tithonia (mexican sunflower) being one. Cassia is another. Good hosts are parsley and fennel, even carrots, from seed.

Can anybody at the center give you a list of the trees or at least tell you if there are sassafras, wild cherry, sparkleberry or hackberry? All these are caterpillar hosts.

Oh, have you seen any butterflies over there already? If you see a few now, there will be more later if there's nectar available.

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

Wow, one of my trademark sayings "you know enough to be annoyed"....I'm not saying that you are annoyed but you clearly know more about this concept than I could even could begin to understand. I know that the group who put this here spent a lot of time and I wish to maintain it's integrity. Again, it truly is not at my discretion to say as I am merely a volunteer....but I will clearly dissect what you said.

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

My first inclination was to cut the overhanging limbs and make it a raised bed. If they opt to do this I will have to move what's there..meaning I have to identify what's there. It has dappled shade currently and am inclined to think that a butterfly garden needs more sun. Also, (not that it will stop it) it will slow down the seedlings and the leaves from falling in it. I suppose it is better to move them now than in the dead heat of summer. Thoughts?

Jean Campbell said...

We are cool, Julie. Nell Jean and Jean Campbell are one and the same. There will be more butterfly posts on Secrets of a Seedscatter.

I can help with identifying the plants in the butterfly garden if you take close up pictures.

Given the setting of the Museum, I would think they want to plant natives. A butterfly garden extends outside any designated area. My pipevine plants for hosting Pipevine Swallowtails are well to the rear of the gardens where Swallowtails nectar.

Jean Campbell said...

Oh, I didn't address raised beds and cutting limbs. Raised beds are always good. I am a fan of cutting limbs that hang low. Leaves are good mulch, seeds are a pain.

LTB said...

Good Morning Gals...Wow Janie, Miss Jean is on the her input I will get the dimensions on the bed when I go to the museum this morning unless you(Janie) get to it before me? "Jean" were you suggesting the a footpath through the Butterfly Garden? The plant next to the lantana produces a tiny red bloom...I will check the museum picture data base to see if I have a shot to show you. I wish we had some sassafras however we do have Huckleberry(wild blueberry). I have access to Turk's Cap(which my granny also called candlestick plant or lipstick depending on her mood.) The butterflies and hummingbird can't seem to get enough of this plant at my house and I'm just up the road from the museum. And of course there is always the good old fashion butterfly bush with its cascade of purple blooms. There is one we transplanted in there earlier this year. I really like the idea of adding fennel, parsley , carrots and dill.

Now the Boy Scout situation...the troop had a change in leadership and are now firing back up so hopefully(and I have been in contact with the leader) they will be available this summer to come back to the museum. They recently built and put up Blue Birdhouses on the grounds.

Janie can I post a link to BCHM's facebook page to this feed?

Jean Campbell said...

Janie mentioned having zinnias == zinnias are a fav with butterflies.

NellJean said...

I think the little bush with the red flowers that I said I didn't know, is Hamelia patens, commonly called Firebush. It's listed on nearly every butterfly list in Texas.

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

Sorry, Tammy...I have been busy cleaning a very messy house...of course, you can post the link.....that would be awesome...maybe even get more volunteers...I have no problem donating plants and time but with my garden and the roses....if you get other gardeners involved I think that would be awesome...I still the term loosely when I reference myself....

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

Oh, I do have zinnia seedlings and I know the coop has them selling by the pound...but it's shady so thinking is to pull up the plants that are there and bring them to my greenhouse , for the moment...when I mean greenhouse..(it's too hot) but outside I store plants in pots until they are ready..and cut down the limbs so the plants underneath don't get destroyed...raise the beds, till, amend the soil, irrigate, and then put the plants back...

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

Tammy, I saw the bird houses on the property and thought, I don't remember seeing them before, but with my memory that is not unusual.