Connecticut Audbon Society
Deer Pond Farm

Deer Pond Farm

Pollinator Garden at Deer Pond Farm

Spicebush Swallowtail by Michael Audette

The Deer Pond Farm pollinator garden was established to improve habitat and create a warm welcome area where visitors can enjoy a beautiful landscape planting. We hope that this demonstration garden will also help people learn about the benefits of utilizing native plants and how to support pollinators and birds with food and shelter. Take a stroll through the garden throughout the year to see a variety of plants, blooms, birds, and other pollinators.

The pollinator garden occupies an area where Mrs. Wriston, the former owner of Deer Pond Farm, kept a nursery to protect young seedling plants such as our native Eastern White Pine. Now, this area has a variety of native trees, shrubs and flowers. The trees and shrubs that were planted first include Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), which provides nectar and pollen for several native bees, fruit for the birds, and is a host plant for the Spring Azure butterfly. Spring Azure also benefit from the Maple-leaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium), Meadowsweet (Spirea alba var. latifolia), and Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinum corymbosum) found within the pollinator garden.

Host plants and nectar are provided for other butterflies and moths, such as Brown Elfin, Cecropia Moth, Henry’s Elfin, Huckleberry Sphinx Moth, Hummingbird Clearwing, Promethea Moth, Saddleback Caterpillar Moth, Spicebush Swallowtail, and the Striped Hairstreak.

Fruit-eating birds, such as American Robin, Cedar Waxwings, Northern Cardinal, Yellow-rumped Warbler can eat the fruit of Flowering Dogwood, Highbush Blueberry, Maple-leaf Viburnum, Meadowsweet, Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’), and Winterberry (Ilex verticillata).

In addition, plants like Winterberry and Meadowsweet can provide cover and nesting sites for birds. Hummingbirds, which are pollinators, also feed on the nectar of the Summersweet flowers.

After the native shrubs were installed as part of the hardscape layout of the garden, 400 plants of 15 perennial species and seeds of five species of annuals and perennials were planted. The plant species were selected for their functions as sources of nectar throughout the spring, summer, and autumn seasons, as well as their potential to serve as host plants for various species of butterfly and moth caterpillars. The American Goldfinch often eat these flower seed heads as a food source late into winter.

The Pollinator Garden is supported by a bi-monthly volunteer team, known as the Garden Gaggle. They assist with ongoing maintenance and monitoring of the plants and wildlife species that benefit from the plantings. The early phases of the garden were supported by volunteers: landscape architect Karen Cowperthwaite, who provided the concept design, and University of Connecticut Master Gardeners Robert Fossity and Michelle MacKinnon. Bette McKenna and Marilyn Barrett, cooperative work experience interns from Naugatuck Valley Community College, assisted with garden maintenance over various summers.

For the list of plants in the garden, click here.

Interested in volunteering to support this garden? Click here.


Butterflies & Monarch Waystation

Monarch by Sharon Cuartero

We’ve identified 41 species of butterflies at Deer Pond Farm. With our pollinator garden, food plots, habitat enhancement areas, and plans for more planting, we look forward to attracting more. Of the approximately 20,000 species of butterflies worldwide, there are 700+ in North America, and a little over 100 in Connecticut. Like birds, there are residents that spend the year in state, as well as migrants like the well-known monarch who overwinters in Mexico and visits our area yearly.

Butterflies are insects from the order Lepidoptera, meaning scaly winged, which also includes moths. They go through complete metamorphosis and emerge as adults with thousands of miniature scales covering their wings. They are known for their often colorful wings, day time activity, and club shaped antennae, all of which differentiate them from moths.

Their habitat needs include water, sun, shelter and plants. Host plants for caterpillars and nectar plants for the butterfly are both important. In 2019, Deer Pond Farm became a Monarch Waystation through Monarch Watch. This certificate recognizes the creation and maintenance of an area that provides milkweeds, nectar plants, and shelter for monarchs. Additionally, Deer Pond Farm participates in the International Monarch Monitoring Blitz.

For the list of butterflies identified at Deer Pond Farm, click here.

For more information on butterflies:
North American Butterfly Association
Connecticut Butterfly Association
The Connecticut Butterfly Atlas
Caterpillars of Eastern North America





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