By Morgan Magoon,
Have you noticed the new addition outside the Pierson Library? A butterfly habitat designed by landscape architect and Shelburne resident Charlotte Albers and sponsored by the Friends of the Pierson Library was planted by the Shelburne-Charlotte Garden Club last month for all to enjoy.
And they are. Gardening enthusiasts Sue Nelson, Joy Ferris-Prabhu, Judy Raven, and Allison Kimmerly gladly attended the Albers-led discussion and tour offered by the library last Thursday, July 24.
“To design a successful butterfly flower garden,” Albers began, “means being sensitive to what it takes to create a habitat. A habitat requires food, water, shelter, and cover. I designed the garden using local plants and flowers from Horsford Gardens & Nursery. I felt it was also important to use plants native to North America. That way no invasive species could inhabit the garden,” she offered.
“It’s also essential to garden the natural way,” Albers continued. “That means no sprays or chemicals involved. They aren’t good for the butterflies. And all types of butterflies are welcome in this garden.”
Also important is the type of flower used for enticing the butterflies to make the garden their home. Albers chose a lot of flowers that have nectar, or food, for the adult butterflies. She also included interesting perennials that come back year over year, and shrubs that add visual interest year-round.
“This living space is not meant to just look good,” she said. “I fully intended for the garden to be educational too. I purposefully planned a walking path in between the blossoming flowers so that visitors of all ages can get in there and appreciate the close perspective.” In the future, Albers plans to incorporate signs that identify the flowers.
The landscaping included Ice Ballet Milkweed, Coneflowers, Tickseed, Gayfeather, New England Aster, Helen’s Flower, Bluestar, False Indigo, and Candytuft, to name a few. No butterflies have visited yet, but Albers assured the group that the beautiful-winged insects would find the garden this year.
An experienced gardener, Albers studied botany and plant taxonomy at the U.S. National Arboretum. She was an education consultant at The American Horticultural Society and The Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and wrote for gardening magazines and the Burlington Free Press. Currently, she writes about gardening in the Northeast for Houzz.com.
To learn more about gardening Albers recommends the following library books: “Bringing Nature Home” by Doug Tallamy, “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv, “Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to your Backyard” by Sally Roth, “Theme Gardens” by Barbara Damrosch, and “Wildflowers of Vermont” by Kate Carter.
To appreciate the butterfly garden stop by the Pierson Library anytime. For more information about the flowers or its design stop by the library, call 985-5124, or visit www.piersonlibrary.org. For more information about Charlotte Albers visit www.paintboxgarden.com.