Assateague Pointe Butterfly Garden
In the Spring of 2018 the Assateague Pointe Board of Directors decided to create a butterfly garden. The Board chose A.P. residents Missy Clark along with Brenda and David Hawk to get the project started. The garden was to be located near the playground area just inside the front gate. Work began on the project on the Community Clean Up Day in May 2018.
By summer of 2019 the new Butterfly Garden was a display of perennial and annual flowers of many types and colors. Wood boards outline the large plot and a water spray system has been installed with the support of the HOA Board. The sandy native soil has been cultivated and enriched with organic components. Even a small bird bath for butterflies to get a sip of water along with several large stones and a butterfly box for resting places have been added.
Butterfly gardens are noteworthy in the variety of flowering plants that attract many types of butterflies. Some plants are even very specific for one type of butterfly – the orange and black Monarch butterfly. As a result of advanced planning by Missy, Brenda and David, the garden with its various types of plants, many specific for attracting Monarchs, was certified in its first Summer of 2018 as a Monarch Waystation habitat registered with Monarch Watch (University of Kansas). More about Monarch butterflies in a moment.
Plants that attract butterflies (and bees too!) vary from region to region (climate and soil types are important here). Plants are usually either annuals (need to be replanted each year) or perennials (live from one year to the next). Flowering plants that have worked best in the first two years of the A.P. Butterfly Garden have included:
Perennials – milkweed, butterfly bush, pink coneflower, sedum, black-eyed Susan, and hibiscus;
Annuals – zinnia, snapdragon, sunflower and salvia.
Milkweed in particular is of vital importance to Monarch butterflies. Like many flowers already mentioned, milkweed flowers provide sweet nectar for Monarch butterflies. But even more importantly, the milkweed green leaves and stems also provide food for the Monarch caterpillars.
From Spring to Fall many colorful flowers and butterflies can be seen in our Butterfly Garden. Nearby the Garden are chairs and tables to make a friendly resting place for children and adults of all ages. Don’t forget your camera or cell phone to take some lovely nature photos. A careful observer can also see various stages of the butterfly life-cycle – eggs, larvae, caterpillars, and the spectacular adults.