Our Organic Gardens: Oshawa Butterfly Garden
The Butterfly Garden is a project related to the objectives of both the DRFN and Durham Organic Gardeners. It provides habitat for some of nature’s little wonders in a time when their natural habitat in this area is disappearing due to urban sprawl, and is kept healthy using organic gardening practices. It also provides beauty in the community.
A committee of six people from both groups began planning in 2003. Research was done to determine plants that would provide nectar for adult butterflies and/or food for the larvae. Club members who were experts on butterflies and plants were consulted.
We met with City of Oshawa parks staff to review our plan, then submitted a formal request. The Director of Parks and Facilities Maintenance Services took our proposal to City Council and it was approved.
The first two gardens are forty feet in diameter and contain seven pie-shaped plots full of perennials which attract butterflies. Members of both groups donated the starter plants for these gardens. A few annuals are purchased each year, mostly marigolds to light up the borders.
The third garden in the centre is a butterfly-shaped xeriscape (drought tolerant) garden measuring 45′ by 33′ at its furthest points. It is raised three feet on the north side to slope down to Rossland Road.
Volunteers from both groups and others who take an interest, maintain the gardens, tidying, planting, weeding, mulching and picking up litter in the area.
Butterfly Species that May Visit the Garden
Black and Tiger Swallowtails
Little Wood Satyr
Great Spangled Fritillary
Pearl and Northern Crescents
Red and White Admirals
Acadian and Coral Hairstreaks
Spring and Summer Azures
Eastern Tailed Blue
Hobomok and European Skippers
Some Host Plants in the Garden for Butterfly Larvae
Parsley, Dill—Black Swallowtail
Pearly Everlasting—American Lady
False Nettle—Red Admiral
Aster—Pearl and Northern Crescents
Did You Know?
- Butterflies are attracted and lured to plants through smells and scents. Butterflies smell with their antenna and taste with their feet.
- Pesticides can harm butterflies and other beneficial insects.
- Butterfly wings are made of tiny scales arranged like shingles on a roof. The scales establish the colours and patterns of the wings. It’s not good to touch the wings, as the scales could come off, making the wings very fragile.
- The average life span of a butterfly is two to three weeks. The exceptions are migrating species like our own Monarch which can live up to six months.
- A person who studies butterflies and moths is called a Lepidopterist.
- The French word for butterfly is “Papillon.” The Spanish word for butterfly is “Mariposa.”
Some differences between butterflies and moths are:
- Most butterflies fly during the day, while most moths fly at night.
- Butterflies usually have thin, slender bodies, while moths usually have thick, fuzzy bodies.
- The pupa of a butterfly is called a chrysalis, while that of a moth is called a cocoon.
- The antennae of butterflies are hair-like with knobs at the ends, while those of moths are usually feathery.
- Butterflies hold their wings upright when at rest, while moths hold theirs horizontally.
Garden #1 planted June 5, 2004
Garden #2 planted May 27, 2006
Garden #3 planted August 25, 2007
The City of Oshawa has permitted us to plant on city property, generously donated mulch, ploughed the first two garden areas and provided and graded the soil for the third garden. Staff of Parks and Facilities Maintenance Services have also provided expert advice, ideas and ongoing support.
TD Friends of the Environment has awarded grants on two occasions, for signage for the first garden and to purchase the plants for the third garden.
Other supporters include G.L. Roberts 2007 Horticulture class who developed the original design for Garden #3, and Marjorie Mason of Mason Hogue Gardens, who gave her expert advice. Thanks to Richard Woolger for donating several wildflowers and shrubs, and to Witzkes Greenhouse for donating the annual marigolds.
Thank you to all the volunteers who have worked tirelessly planting and tending our beautiful gardens.
For more information, contact Dianne Pazaratz at 905-433-7875.