Two years ago Imago installed a pollinator/butterfly garden right outside the front door as a way to beautify the space and also teach about native plant and insect species. The garden is absolutely BOOMING and full of life right now. Our summer camp intern, Hannah Frey takes us on a tour of the garden.
Just like our kids at camp this summer, our butterfly garden is growing and blooming every day. Due to the recent storms many plants have stretched even beyond my head (though, not the greatest feat seeing as how I am barely 5’4”, but still). Here are some of the many things you can see if you visit our butterfly garden, from a natural history enthusiast in training.
Cabbage White Butterfly
This common butterfly is typically found around (surprise) cabbage plants along with other members of the mustard plant family including mustard, broccoli, and cauliflower. Cabbage white butterflies can be found all throughout Ohio and tend to prefer open spaces such as weedy areas and gardens. Because of the damage this butterfly and its caterpillar does to its host plants, it is not always a welcomed guest in gardens.
This name might be familiar to you if you are an avid tea drinker, its minty leaves are used to make (can you guess?) mint tea. In addition to being a refreshing drink, historically it was used by Native Americans as medicine. They used the tea for colic, colds, fevers, stomach aches, nosebleeds, insomnia, and heart trouble. For their part in our pollinator garden they attract bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds. Can you spot the bee in the picture?
This vibrant, bright-orange plant below can be found in many home gardens. As its name implies, it attracts many butterflies to our garden. It has also been referred to as Pleurisy Root due to its use as an herbal remedy for respiratory ailments by some Native American tribes. Despite having no milky sap, it is also a part of the Milkweed family.
Which leads us to my personal favorite, Common Milkweed. This is a great plant to point out to children at the camps. Not only does it attract and host the beautiful Monarch butterflies, but it also contains milky sap that appears when you rip off its leaf. This substance does not taste like milk and in large quantities is toxic to animals. This toxicity is used by the monarch caterpillar to ensure its survival. When the caterpillar eats the leaves, it ingests the poison sap and becomes poisonous itself. This protects the caterpillars from predators.
As a camp intern at Imago, I am constantly exploring and learning more about the natural history of our area. We invite any and all who are interested or simply curious to come by and check out the pollinator garden anytime. The door (or should I say trail) is always open for all who want to view our garden or learn how to grow one of their own.