Pollinator Garden at Deer Pond Farm
Deer Pond Farm is excited to have completed phase one and two of our Pollinator Garden. This garden serves to improve habitat and create a warm welcome area where visitors can enjoy a beautiful landscape planting and learn the benefits of utilizing native plants. It occupies an area where Mrs. Wriston kept a nursery to protect young seedling plants such as our native Eastern White Pine.
Phase one focused on defining the boundaries and planting areas of the garden, and the selection and installation of native trees and shrubs. This includes plants such as Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), which provides nectar and pollen for several native bees, fruit for the birds, and is a host plant for the butterfly Spring Azure.
Spring Azure will also enjoy the Maple-leaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium), Meadowsweet (Spirea alba var. latifolia), and Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinum corymbosum) found within the Pollinator Garden. Other butterflies and moths that will have host plants and nectar include Brown Elfin, Cecropia Moth, Henry’s Elfin, Huckleberry Sphinx Moth, Hummingbird Clearwing, Promethea Moth, Saddleback Caterpillar Moth, Spicebush Swallowtail, and the Striped Hairstreak.
American Robin, Cedar Waxwings, Northern Cardinal, Yellow-rumped Warbler and other fruit-eating birds will have their choice 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 will provide cover and nesting sites for birds.
Hummingbirds, which are pollinators will enjoy Summersweet.
Phase two included nearly 400 plants of 15 perennial species and seeds of five species of annuals and perennials. 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. Additionally, the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will also enjoy the nectar of these plants, and songbirds such as the American Goldfinch will utilize the seed heads as a food source.
The Pollinator Garden has been supported by a team of volunteers, including landscape architect Karen Cowperthwaite, who completed 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 maintenance over the summer and additional planning. A weekly volunteer team, known as the Garden Gaggle, assist with ongoing maintenance and monitoring.
For the list of plants in the garden, click here
Interested in volunteering to support this garden? Click here.
Butterflies & Monarch Waystation
We’ve identified 41 species of butterflies at Deer Pond Farm. With the recent addition of our pollinator garden 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