The Animal Name Bed by Marguerite Callahan.
Bear’s Breeches, Turtle’s Head, or Toad Lilly, sound familiar? Probably not. These are just a few of the animal name plants you will find at the Animal Name bed in the Heritage Garden in Greenville, Texas. The idea for this garden came from my garden in Sammamish, Washington where after eighteen years it was developed into a collection of different animal name plants. When a bed became available, the beginning of the animal name garden was born.
When designing your garden remember to take into account the soil Ph, (soil test recommended), amount of sun and shade, size of your garden, and climate of your area (average rainfall, high and low temperature). Studying the site and understanding the basics of gardening will help you achieve your design goals and grow healthy flowers. Garden design includes paying attention to spacing as well as to each plant’s cultural needs. Correct spacing allows enough room between individual plants for each one to grow and mature to its full potential. Amend the soil with 3 inches of organic matter (e.g. compost) and 3 inches of expanded shale. Regardless of soil type, plants need to be protected year-round with a layer of mulch (e.g. cypress bark) 3-4 inches thick. It is also very important to provide drip irrigation for the plants especially in the hot Texas sun during the summer.
To attract butterflies be sure to include both host and nectar plants. Nectar-producing plants will attract butterflies to your garden. One of the most common mistakes in butterfly gardening is planting only one nectar source. Adult butterflies have a very short lifespan. Planting a variety of nectar sources will encourage more butterflies to visit the garden. Butterflies are guided to the nectar source by colors and patterns. Choose flowers with bright colors like pink, orange, yellow, and purple. An aromatic garden will serve as the butterfly’s main attraction. Examples are Tickseed, Butterfly pincushion flower, beebalm, and hummingbird mint.
Food-source plants for the caterpillar are quite specific to species as well as region. In the butterfly’s short life, the female will be looking for the specific larval food plants on which she must lay her eggs. Planting host plants gives butterflies a place to lay their eggs, which will successfully hatch and result in butterflies that will continue to visit the garden. Examples would be Snapdragons and Zebra Mallow.
Here are some of the plants that can be found at different times in the Heritage Garden: Bat Plant, Bear’s Breeches, Bee Balm Fantasy, Bee Balm Jacob Kline, Bellflower Pink Octopus, Butterfly Blue Pincushion Flower, Catmint, Crimson Butterflies Guara, Dragon’s Blood Sedum, Dwarf Monkey Grass, Elephant Ear, Foxglove, Giant Hummingbird Mint, Hens & Chickens, Hummingbird Mint, Lamb’s Ears, Lion’s Ear, Lion’s Head Daffodil, Minnow Daffodil, Mouse Ear Coreopsis, Oxalis ‘Pink carpet’, Pink Turtlehead, Quail Daffodil, Red Fox Speedwell Veronica, Salmon Star Lily, Scabiosa “Misty Butterflies”, Snapdragon, Swallowtail Columbine, Tickseed, Tiger Lilies, Toad Lily, Wormwood, Yellow Bird Lily, Zebra Mallow. Please come by during the growing season to enjoy them, and make plans to join the Hunt County Master Gardeners for the annual Garden Tour on May 30.