Because of the COVID pandemic, I have walked more than I normally do. It was was for my physical health but it benefitted my mental health far more. The winter weather cut down on the amount of time I was outside for a couple of months but luckily the weather is pretty mild here in the Triangle Area. Now that Spring is around the corner, I have been out and about again and I walked by my favorite section. A lady has a Butterfly Highway in front of her home and it is one of the best ideas I’ve seen.
There are some not so happy side effects of living in a subdivision in a suburban area. The HOA bugs you to do your chores and you sometimes get to live next to a “Devil’s Strip” which is the grassy area between the street and the sidewalk. I think people in Akron, Ohio started that terminology. It is not clear in our subdivision who truly OWNS this piece of useless land. However, it is assumed that the owner of the adjacent property is in charge of it. We mow it every time we mow our lawn as most people do. Hardly anything survives on it and even one of the trees that the developers planted rotted and then fell over during a storm one day. It is near at the stop sign so that is just as well, I reckon.
The neighbor had such a strip and decided to put a butterfly garden in it to beautify and make useful what is usually a boring piece of useless land. Through the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and with HOA approval, she put in native NC plants and in about a year she had a beautiful garden that attracted birds, bees and other pollinators. On our many walks the children and I love taking photos of the flowers as they bloom and the birds that visit. Believe it or not, she has received complaints from the neighbors that the garden is unsightly. WTF? I value everyone’s opinions but I will never understand suburbia’s need to have everything looks exactly the same. How boring!
I chatted up the owner one day in the fall and she told me that she wrote our HOA to seek permission and then went to plowing and planting. I took a photo of the sign that was in her garden and looked them up on the web. I am happy to say my youngest Girl Scout is going to take this project on as a Silver Award project! She decided it would be a great thing to do during the pandemic as she will be working outside and it will be right next door to our house. I am excited about this venture. We will not really see the results of it for another year, but we have 2 years to complete it so it is perfect, I think.
With our research we learned that native pollinators are declining in number due to housing developments and use of pesticides and fungicides. Add their natural demise to parasites and disease and you can see the writing on the wall. It feels good that we will be contributing to the conservation of these wee beasties.
We plan to plant mostly Native NC plants in our garden. We have plans to also make a butterfly puddler. This lovely man teaches us how to make one at home. We plan to add black stones in ours to give the butterfly a resting area as well.
This terra cotta saucer puddler seems easy enough and we may make a fruit feeder as well so they can drink nectar from cut up fruit. We want to put both on planter stands so we can see the critters easier.
My teen Girl Scout will do fundraisers and use the money to buy the official Butterfly Highway sign, all the planting supplies, etc. and our family will provide the love and labor. I can’t wait until we can show off the photos of the finished project! Join us in the cause and make your own pollinator pitstop!