Butterfly Pavilion Garden Resolutions
Once the outdoor gardens have been put to bed, the horticulturists here at the Butterfly Pavilion finally have some time to evaluate what flourished and what fizzled during the past year. The entire month of January is devoted to planning and dreaming, usually with seed catalogs in hand. Below are some of the resolutions the Butterfly Pavilion horticulturists have made for the coming year. Because these are all about gardens, habitats and plants, they will be a delight, not a drudgery, to keep.
- Have some tea (compost tea, that is!) – Compost tea is an effective, sustainable way to add nutrients to an ecosystem without relying on synthetic fertilizers. After seeing compost tea in action at other zoos, we hope it will be the ideal fertilizer, providing gentle nutrition for our plants, butterflies and other creatures in the Wings of the Tropics exhibit. This winter, we will be constructing our composting system, and hope to be able to apply our first batch of compost tea by late spring.
- Go native – The gardens at the Butterfly Pavilion include both native and nonnative plants that are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. This year, when we buy perennials for the habitat gardens, we will choose native nectar sources. Native plants thrive in our dry and windy setting, and our local insect fauna are adapted to use them. This is not to say that we will get rid of all of our non-natives, however. Certain plants, such as the butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), provide so much nectar to so many pollinators that we will continue to include them in the habitat gardens. We aim to create a buffet for butterflies in our habitat gardens!
- Share the love – We horticulturists love our gardens and rainforest and nature trail. We get to see the plants grow and bloom each day, and we get to observe the amazing animals that use these plants for food and shelter, both in the rainforest and outdoors. But, it’s not enough to love them if no one else gets to love them, too. In 2012, we will offer lots of opportunities to enjoy our rainforest, gardens and nature trail, through programs, events and classes. And, if you see a horticulturist at work in the rainforest or garden, feel free to stop and chat. You might get to eat a raspberry or sniff some jasmine…and we promise not to make you pull weeds!
In the coming months, visitors to the Butterfly Pavilion will be able to visit the tropical rainforest and outdoor gardens to see these resolutions take fruit (pun intended!). Here’s to a blooming and bounteous New Year!
Amy Yarger, Horticulture Director
January 3, 2012
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