If You Build It, They Will Come

Butterfly on flower
Monarch by Cameron Svoboda

Hundreds of butterflies will be making their way to Scioto Audubon Metro Park in the near future thanks to the efforts of the German Village Garten Club and staff at Metro Parks. A quarter-acre area in the park at the northwest corner of Whittier Street and Maier Place has been transformed into the perfect habitat for these colorful winged insects.

The idea for a butterfly garden came from Sara McNealey, Chairwoman of the German Village Society parks, public spaces and community events committee. Her group is raising funds for the garden.

Volunteers from the Garten Club helped park staff plant a variety of both nectar plants for adults and host plants for caterpillars in order to attract the largest number of species. Milkweed, black-eyed Susan, rattlesnake master, purple coneflower and other native wildflowers were among the 1,200 plants that were put in this spring. Monarchs, common-checkered skippers, silver-spotted skippers, clouded sulfurs and cabbage white have already been spotted. The garden will also provide food and shelter for an array of bees, wasps, beetles and other beneficial insects.

The garden’s proximity to the Scioto River is a boon for those butterflies that migrate and typically use water corridors as their preferred route when they head out to escape the cold weather in search of warmer climates.

Metro Parks’ Resource Manager John Watts is hopeful that as the garden matures, visitors may spot 40 species of butterflies. Ohio is home to about 44 species of butterflies.

On your next visit to Scioto Audubon Metro Park be sure and take some time to relax in the grass and watch these graceful creatures with their wings outstretched soaking up the sun’s heat or floating from flower to flower in search of nectar. Mid-morning to mid-afternoon when there is an abundance of sun is a good time to look for them.