The Basic School Butterfly Garden

March 4, 2013 in School and Community Gardens

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Sustainable Butterfly Garden at Your School

The school butterfly garden changes learning by involving students in actions that directly affect an environment for which they feel responsible. While the garden itself provides a rich theme for integrated academic study, the benefits of working in the garden go beyond academics to touch the hearts and spirits of future citizens.

Plants for the Basic Butterfly Garden

Use only native plants to get the most successful basic school butterfly garden. Native plants thrive in our region’s weather and provide the right food and nectar sources our local butterflies need.

1. Start the Garden

  • Contact Master Gardeners at 302-831-2506.
  • Secure the support of administration, principal, teachers, custodial staff and parents.
  • Involve students in all stages.
  • Obtain funding.
  • Schedule work commitments for design, installation, and maintenance (especially long-term maintenance.

2. Design the Garden

  • Choose a site with at least 6 hours sun each day.
  • Decide on the design.
  • Map the site.

3. Prepare the Garden

  • Mark out the site.
  • Remove all existing turf.
  • Prepare the soil.

4. Install the Garden

  • Plant according to the design.
  • Water the plants well.
  • Mulch the garden.

5. Maintain the Garden

  • Keep plants watered until established.
  • Weed the garden in a timely fashion.
  • Reapply mulch as needed.

Plants for the Basic Butterfly Garden
                Use only native plants to get the most successful basic school butterfly garden. Native plants thrive in our region’s weather and provide the right food and nectar sources our local butterflies need.
For moist to medium soils, plant:

Name

Color

Height

Obedient plant

Pink

2-5’

Goldenrod

Yellow

2-4’

Hardy ageratum

Blue

2’

Ironweed

Purple

2-4’

Joe-Pye weed

Purple

6-8’

Swamp milkweed

Pink

4-5’

For dry to medium soils, plant:

Name

Color

Height

Black-eyed Susan

Yellow

2-3’

Butterfly weed

Orange

2’

Coreopsis

Yellow

2’

False sunflower

Yellow

3-4’

Purple coneflower

Pink

3-4’

Authors: Peg Baseden, Delaware Master Gardener, and Karon Massado, Educator