Since the removal of the netting over the Butterfly House in early November, there has been quite a bit of activity as we prepare for both winter and spring of 2022. While we were removing the net, we discovered five more spicebush swallowtail chrysalides and one additional cecropia cocoon and tucked them into the rearing cages in the Butterfly House.
In late December, the rearing cages were moved to a safer area, still remaining outdoors for the winter. We expect the black swallowtail and spicebush swallowtail butterflies to emerge first followed by the Cecropia moths who will likely wait until June. Our hope is to share their emergence with you this spring.
If you’ve recently been past the Pollinator Preserve, you have seen the general messiness intentionally left for our insect friends. The garden beds won’t win any awards for tidiness, but the leaves and dried perennial stems are providing vital overwintering habitat for pollinators and other insects.
Bulbs have been planted for the early insects looking for nectar and for visitors to enjoy. Some are in the gardens, and some have been layered into pots with the larger bulbs planted about six inches deep and the smaller bulbs 2-3 inches higher. Tulips, daffodils, crocus, alliums and blue-grape hyacinths will greet us with their colorful show as we begin to garden in earnest in the spring.