Ivy Creek Butterfly Garden

Association For Butterflies donated funds for the “Ivy Creek Natural Area Butterfly Garden in Charlottesville, VA

Proposal submitted by Linda Marchman to the Association For Butterflies asking for consideration of conservation funds to be used to help institute a butterfly garden at Ivy Creek Natural Area, Charlottesville, VA,  November 2009.

See UPDATE at bottom

The Piedmont Garden Club, Girl Scout Troop 167 and the Virginia Native Plant Society have agreed to partner with Ivy Creek Natural Area, located in Charlottesville, VA to institute a butterfly garden that will be open to the public.  Ivy Creek encompasses an area of 215 acres that is set aside for visitors to learn about Central Virginia’s rich natural history.  We would like to request financial help with the purchase of butterfly host and nectar plants.  We want to add another component to the observed wildlife which already includes cataloged birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, which would be butterflies.  Planting a butterfly garden will attract many native Virginia butterflies, affording them places to lay eggs and complete their life cycle.  This life cycle will be easily observed by visitors during the warm months.  We plan to incorporate an educational brochure that explains the life stages of a butterfly, what plants attract them, and how people can plant their own butterfly gardens at home or in other public places for the enjoyment of others.  We also wish to label the plants with permanent signs that have Latin and common names so visitors can associate the plant with its name.  A bench is desired so that people may rest among the flowers and butterflies and contemplate nature in all its beauty.  An added bonus will be educating people about the importance of butterflies, why they are good for the environment and how they pollinate our food crops.  People young and old will benefit from an educational and pleasurable outdoor experience by visiting the butterfly garden.   We also plan to apply for and receive a designation from Monarch Watch, a program sponsored by the University of Kansas, that studies Monarch migration.  Ivy Creek will then be a certified “Monarch Waystation” which means that the garden will help butterflies repopulate the species by offering the necessary host and nectar plants butterflies need.  Each fall, Monarch Tagging programs are held for the public at Ivy Creek.

Brief description of how the funds will be used:  Funds will be used to purchase host and nectar plants and to have permanent all-weather signs made that will be placed in the ground identifying each plant.

The Ivy Creek Natural Area Butterfly Garden is underway April 10, 2010.

Beginning-planting-at-Ivy-Creek-butterfly-garden-4-10-150x150 Rick-G-at-Ivy-Creek-butterfly-garden-4-101-150x150 Ivy-Creek-Update-150x150 Ivy-Creek-Update.jpg2_-150x150

12/2013 Update:
The garden boundaries have been established, centering around the already-existing butterfly weed. A pathway leads visitors through the garden and there are now all-weather signs showing what plants are there, along with their Latin names. Volunteers have donated many hours to keep the garden as weed-free as possible and we have included native plants where none existed before.

The local Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists have taken over most of the work of finding volunteers to maintain it during the growing season. Once a year, there is a workday where people come out to “put the garden to bed” for the winter. Two projects that have yet to become reality are a memorial bench to be installed and a natural-looking fence for vines to grow on.

We also obtained additional grants from the VFGC (VA Federation of Garden Clubs) and the Piedmont Garden Club.  The Master Gardeners are putting up a sign at the entrance that tells about the requirements of butterflies and just a sentence about their life cycle. We’ve had a variety of winged visitors including bees visit the garden over the past few years. We have not, as planned, been able to fund buses of children to come and learn about butterflies.

Ivy Creek garden sign 2-14Ivy Creek Monarch eggs on bfly weed 4-11Ivy Creek butterfly weed summer 2010