We're winging it in Ponchatoula, Louisiana...
In August 2016, we certified our garden surrounding the shop as a Monarch Waystation, Butterflies in Berrytown #15386. Nectar producing plants were added as well as host plants, such as milkweed (the host plant for Monarch butterflies). It didn't take long for Monarchs to find us; the week of Thanksgiving we witnessed our 1st Monarch ovipositing, or "laying eggs." Most were collected, raised and then released as adult butterflies.
Since then, as the garden has grown, it's attracted many different butterflies. We were so excited in the Spring of 2017 to find black swallowtail caterpillars on a native plant, mock bishop's weed. They were collected, raised and soon released back into the garden.
Why do we raise our butterflies?
All butterflies are in decline for a variety of reasons, but statistically only 1 in 100 eggs will ever become a butterfly. So, not only do we get to witness something amazing, but we are actively giving a natural pollinator a boost.
Why did you certify your garden as a Monarch Waystation?
As a part of our community, we wanted to be an example of good stewardship toward all living things, be responsible in our gardening practices (no pesticides and increasing native plants), and spark a real interest in nature among all our shop guest.
Can I come to a release?
Absolutely! Releases occur in the side yard near the Milkweed Raised Bed. We will post on our social media accounts the week we feel a release is eminent, as we are on butterfly time, we won't know until 1 day prior. Again, we will post that to social media. Releases never happen below 60 degrees, in rain or windy days; all butterflies are held & fed until conditions improve.
We host many other animals in our small garden such as tiny anole lizards, birds including red headed woodpeckers and once a great egret, and every Spring we have a mated pair of Red Tailed Hawks that fly over the building and roost in our trees.