We started off with an old extremely over grown butterfly garden from a previous project. The first phase of the project involved weeding the whole area and pulling out all unwanted plants.We also tackled the broken pond in the middle of the garden. With help from Don Onorati , we were able to get the pond up and working , and even re-arranged the rocks and tubs so that it integrated into the landscape better.
Phase two of the project involved a little research into native butterfly species and their food of choice. We had to find plants which fed both the adult and larval butterflies, and, since the planting site is very hot and dry in the summer, we narrowed down the search to the drought-tolerant plants native to the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. A great source for these types of plants was the Berkeley Horticultural Nursery. Another free source for xeriscape plants was our own gardens; we transplanted several Mexican sages, Jupiter's beards, yarrows, teucriums, and geraniums from home into the Tule Ponds site .
Then came the fun and creative part- the garden design. A planting guide was developed which took into consideration the color and height of the plants as well as their sunlight/shade requirement. We planted at the end of May and covered the planting beds with a heavy layer of mulch to give the new plants a good chance of surviving the long, hot summer ahead. Despite several days above 90F, all of our transplants thrived. The next thing we worked on was making identification markers for the flowers we had planted. We made a post for each flower with its name and stuck them in the ground in front of each plant.
The final thing we did to make the garden more attractive was to make stepping stones. We each made stepping s tones , big and small , and made a path with them leading to the center of the garden. Then it was complete, we even saw a few Monarch caterpillars on our new plants.
We still come back every once in a while to weed the garden and observe our work.