The presenters shared a wealth of information with the group, including the importance and plight of butterflies, in particular the Monarch Butterfly, as well as how planting gardens like ours assists them in making their migrations. We also learned what types of plants butterflies will be drawn to, and how to properly locate your garden and position the plant materials within it.
Once the educating was completed it was time to put everyone to work and get their hands into the soil. Gilberte talked about different options for laying out the plants in the bed and then challenged members of the group to position the plants based on what they had heard. With the plants laid out to Gilberte's satisfaction, everyone started to actually put the plant's in the ground. Gilberte's preferred method is to just dig in with her bare hands. Several people followed her lead, but a few opted to take a small shovel in hand.
With the plants all in the ground Gilberte took a little time to talk about maintaining the garden, including things like composting and mulching, and most importantly the organic alternatives to fertilizing. Possibly the most important factor when putting in a butterfly garden is that a large area surrounding it must be pesticide free.
The finished product may not look like much at the moment, however Gilberte told us that given that we started with a great foundation bed with good soil and compost material we will be amazed at how quickly it will flourish. We look forward to watching the progress and will provide regular updates and photos throughout the summer.
We want to thank both our presenters and those who participated in the workshop. Hopefully they got as much joy out of being a part of setting up our garden as we have knowing that we are contributing to the future preservation of the Monarch Butterflies.