The Bayview Butterfly Garden, the half-acre maze of pathways through a burgeoning array of plantings near the western shore of the island, is always one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge. As happens every spring, a dedicated corps of volunteers began to work the garden in March and April, bringing in new plants, thinning out some of the old; weeding, whacking, and willing the site back to life. “We leave everything standing in the winter. The seeds feed the birds and bees live in the stems,” said Mary Lou Troy, who, along with Elaine Maugham, another Garden Club of Rock Hall member, is one of the leaders of the volunteer group. “Cutting things back is the first process of the spring. It looked scalped when we cut it back, and look at it now.” In addition to the existing vegetation, volunteers this year planted many newcomers: 138 quart-sized pots of native plants, including swamp milkweed, yellow wild indigo, purple mistflower, boneset, blazing star, cardinal flower, and great blue lobelia.
In the United States, more than 150 food crops, including almost all fruit and grain crops depend on pollinators. The pollinator population has been decimated by pesticides, farming practices, climate change, and air pollution, which makes sites like the Bayview Butterfly Garden vital for the future.
July through September is prime time for butterfly viewing. Come see for yourself!