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Butterfly Gardens & Pampering for High Fliers

April 18, 2017

Pampering for High Fliers at Maine's Inn by the Sea

Gardens add beauty to your property, but they can also sustain local eco systems with just a bit of planning. The arrival of spring is the perfect time to amend your garden to be wildlife and butterfly friendly according to Inn by the Sea's head gardener, Derrick Daly.

Inn by the Sea, an inviting beach resort for both butterflies and people makes the comfort of their guests, which includes the endangered Monarch, a priority. The Inn is a designated Butterfly Waystation, offering butterflies as well as the inn's more traditional two legged guests, luxurious seaside accommodation and delectable local fare.

An array of blooming nectar plants, milkweed for monarchs and a butterfly hotel have all been added to the Inn's largely indigenous landscape to create butterfly friendly gardens that attract and sustain butterflies. Monarch Watch, which registers properties that provide food and shelter for the endangered Monarch as they migrate through North America, certified the inn as a Butterfly Waystation.

"Developing sustainable management practices for the little piece of the earth we are responsible for is really an acknowledgment of being part of something much bigger", said Daly. It's a connection to the natural world and helps preserve the beauty of our coastal landscape for the future.

Reducing the Inn gardens environmental impact begins with rich native compost form Jordan's Farm, the predominant use of a variety of indigenous plants, and choosing plant material that provides habitat and food for local wildlife. Apart from the milkweed plants that are necessary to sustain the plump, yellow and black Monarch larvae, Daly also plants fennel and dill and has attracted graceful Black Swallowtail butterflies to the seaside, butterfly friendly gardens.

The Inn's nectar gardens are a bloom with Monarchs and other butterflies late summer through fall, and that, says Daly, adds a little enchantment to coastal Maine.

Creating a waystation for the endangered Monarch, and butterfly friendly gardens is easy according to Daly:

  • Amend existing soil with rich, locally produced organic compost, to provide the perfect growing medium for plants, while eliminating need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Choose native plants that provide food and shelter for butterflies and their young. It is necessary to plant milkweed for Monarchs as it is the only plant on which the butterfly can lay its eggs. Milkweed both feeds and protects the larvae as it is slightly poisonous to the butterfly's natural predators.
  • Let milkweed thrive if it "self" seeds, or contact for seeds.
  • Use Native Nectar Perennials: Echinacea or Purple Cone Flower, Asecplias or Butterfly Weed, Solidago or Golden Rod, New England Purple Aster, Vernonia or Iron Weed, Eupatorium or Joe Pye Weed, Veronicastrum or Culver's Root, Rudbeckia Herbsonne
  • Daly's butterfly garden includes a few non indigenous, non invasive annuals in containers that are rich in nectar to provide a good food source for hatching larvae: Snapdragons, Verbenia Bonairensis Cosmos Clemoe and Red Profussion series Zinnia- a butterfly favorite.
  • Butterflies need a water source- either a moist area in the garden or a shallow dish
  • No chemicals or pesticides, and native plants require less water

Derrick Daly gives complimentary gardens tours, open to the public, of Inn by the Sea's seaside landscape every Thursday at 10AM during the growing season. 207.799.3134. Inn by the Sea, 40 Bowery Beach Road, Cape Elizabeth, Maine 04107