Since we cannot visit Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge due to lake flooding, we are wondering how the Butterfly Garden is faring! The garden suffered a little washing of mulch and some granite had washed out in one area of the walk, but we had been able to repair that before the flooding began. The flood water came right up to the foot of the garden but did not cause a problem and should have receded by now.
The water feature has held up well and we have learned to eliminate algae with a safe product, barley extract.
Some of the plants were not happy with the continual rain, but we expect them to take off now that the sun is shining. A few had begun to bloom, Salvia greggi, Texas lantana, Calylophus (below), Winecup, Giant Black-eyed Susan and Standing cypress.
At home we have a number of pots of pass-along plants, shown below, just waiting to be transplanted, Turk’s Cap, Fall Aster, Maximilian sunflower, several very small oak trees and a redbud. We found a mail order source, after searching local nurseries and plant sales, for a hop tree, Ptelea trifoliata, to be delivered this week, hope it travels well! The hop tree is a host plant for both the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and the Giant Swallowtail.
The garden docents have been working on identifying plants, making labels, and are putting together a notebook with one page devoted to each plant in the garden, giving common name, botanical name, brief description and indicating benefit to wildlife, i.e. nectar and/ or host plant and for which species. The book will be at the information Desk in the Visitor Center as a reference. A number of these volunteers attended the butterfly symposium with Dale Clark last weekend, sponsored by the Bluestem Chapter, Texas Master Naturalists.
Due to rain we were not able to host school groups as planned in May; those who came in April participated in Butterfly College in the garden, learning the life cycle of the Monarch and Butterfly Fun Facts, in addition to enjoying a nature hike, a slide presentation/overview of the Refuge, and the fourth learning station, Little Grass on the Prairie. We are sharing one of the thank you letters received from a group of second-graders:
Once Refuge Road dries up and is safe to travel we will resume garden work days and Butterfly Walks! And the Grand Opening for the Garden has been rescheduled for Sunday, October 11. Watch the Friends Facebook Page and the Featherless Flyer for updates.