Thursday, June 26, 2014

Butterfly Conservatory at Elizabeth’s Secret Garden



Judi Sunshine the owner of Wingin’ It Butterfly Farm came for a tour of the official home of Elizabeth’s Secret Garden and to see the butterfly conservatory which is in the construction phase. It will be enclosed with screening and be a safe haven for butterflies. The goal is to breed various butterfly species including Monarchs, Gulf Fritillaries, Black Swallowtails, and more.


I’m very grateful to Judi for getting me started off this butterfly season with a selection of butterfly enclosures as well as Monarch eggs. If you are in need of butterfly raising supplies such as microscopes, enclosures, butterfly nets, and more check out her online store. 

I’m getting close to having 100 Milkweeds for the Monarchs. Many of them are small, but they grow fast. Monarch conservation is close to my heart and I do presentations at schools and camps teaching about butterflies. The dream I once had is now really happening. I encourage you to plant Milkweed. You can get free seeds at the following link.


Here is an example of how Judi uses her smallest enclosure (7” x 5”) for emerging butterflies. The enclosures she sells are really handy because they allow easy viewing of the butterflies, can be compacted, and have a strap for hanging. The butterflies shown above are Black Swallowtails.


Zebra Swallowtails feeding on a tray of nectar rich flowers.


I was able to get a close up look at her Red-Spotted Purple caterpillars. They have a few different host plants they will feed on. This one is Black Cherry which is prevalent here in North Carolina. There is so much you can do to help butterflies. Some of the greatest advice is to start out small and step by step expand as you gain confidence. Butterfly raising is a lot of fun and need not be challenging. No science or lepidopterist degree necessary. Just a desire to make a difference and help butterflies one egg at a time.

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