Butterfly Garden


You are invited to visit the butterfly garden at Pole Green Park and see the variety of butterfly-friendly plants.  All of the plants are identified with detailed information.  You are encouraged to construct a butterfly garden and use the resources on our website.  The Master Gardeners are available to answer your questions on our Help Line.

The butterfly garden is located in Pole Green Park, adjacent to the parking lot for the Community Building.  The garden was constructed in 1999 in a joint effort by the Hanover County Parks and Recreation EarthSavers Club and the Hanover Master Gardener Association (HMGA) with the help of donations from the community.

Upon completion, the garden was dedicated to Sara Bruehl, a recent high school graduate and the receiver of a horticulture grant from the HMGA.  She planned to attend Reynolds Community College to study Horticulture.  Sara loved butterflies and was active in 4H during her high school years.  She unexpectedly died before she could begin studying at Reynolds.

The Hanover Master Gardeners practice sustainable conservation methods in this garden and the native landscape garden at the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office in Ashland.  Our goals are low maintenance, supporting wildlife, conserving resources, being environmentally friendly, and using sustainable materials.

Over the years, the garden has become partially shaded and not the ideal location for butterflies since butterflies like to be in the sun.  However, it is still an excellent example of butterfly-loving plants.  All of the plants have labels giving their names plus additional information.  Most plants are native or cultivars of natives and are for dry areas.  The garden is a pollinator magnet visited by a variety of bees, wasps, and flies of all sorts.

In the early summer of 2022, monarch activity was seen in the garden with monarch caterpillars on the swamp milkweed when monarch butterflies made their way north for the summer. Since the Monarch Butterfly has recently been designated as an endangered species, an emphasis will be placed on planting additional monarch-friendly plants for the summer of 2023.  For information on how to grow a monarch garden see MonarchWatch.

Local native plants are planted to support a wide variety of beneficial pollinators (bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, and moths) and birds (goldfinches and hummingbirds), including the Monarch Butterfly.  With the use of native plants and leaf mulch, along with partial shade, the garden rarely needs watering.

The soil and environment are protected by the non-use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and mulching with chopped leaves supplied by a master gardener will amend the soil as they decompose.

The Xerces Society website is a one-stop location for all pollinators with information on butterflies, including Monarchs specifically,