For the most part, I grew up in the city suburbs of Chicago. Suburban life did not lend itself to much nature so what little exposure I had, I enjoyed. My best memories as a child would be digging for crawfish in the ditch and watching the birds in my grandparent’s feeder while chasing squirrels away. My friend in the country from age 7 (still close to me this day), brought me even closer to nature. From my 25x50 city lot to her 2 acres, she and I built the best backyard forts in the neighborhood! Dropping off our new kittens to the farmers and playing hide and seek in the nearby forests were very exciting for us.
My interest and involvement with butterflies occurred much later and by accident. My husband of 22 yrs started gardening in his spare time. His success and enjoyment with it was an inspiration to me. We both used this new hobby to spend time together while building our health and body strength. We decided to plant milkweed; this unknown plant we saw at Lowe’s. The label said it attracted butterflies and since he caught and pinned them as a child while living in Costa Rica, we decided to plant it. Months past and to our surprise we had hundreds of monarchs! They brought such beauty and calmness to our yard! So, from that day forward, this became our primary focus for our garden. Now we have planted several different host plants in our yard to attract many different butterfly species with great reward of many butterfly visitors.
We look forward to using our yard to inspire others to “go native” and plant butterfly host and nectar plants. Our yard has been featured in several periodicals and used for educational and fundraising events. Our goal for the garden is to promote native planting and sustaining the butterfly population; especially monarchs. It has changed our lives and we thoroughly enjoy it.