NUTLEY, NJ - Residents collecting water at the Township of Nutley well near town hall came across a flurry of activity as members of the Nutley Rotary Club finished work on the newly installed library butterfly garden, for now.
In May, members of the Rotary Club of Nutley spent a Saturday morning installing a butterfly and hummingbird habitat in the garden space near the front door of the Nutley Public Library. The butterfly habitat compliments a perennial garden installed in that space by scouts in 2017. On Wednesday evening, some members of the club spent time spreading mulch to both control weeds and retain moisture in the habitat area.
Rotarian Dorothy Huey explained that a truck load of mulch was delivered earlier in the day by the Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation. "Frank DeMaio made it happen, I just had to make a call and ask, and it happened," she explained.
Aside from the plantings from last year's scout project, the habitat garden consist of plants just coming out of the seedling stage. Some of the varieties are nectar plants that will provide food for butterflies and hummingbirds, others are host plants. The host plants are favored by butterflies as places to lay their eggs.Caterpillars will eventually emerge from those eggs, with the host plant serving as a food source for them. Huey stressed that one of the key activities of maintaining a butterfly garden is to not cut the plants back when they fade late in the season. May of those "dead" plants will most likely have butterfly eggs on them.
The Rotary Club of Nutley ordered butterfly and hummingbird plants from Prairie Moon Nursery. Delivered in 5 inch deep plant cells, the plants consisted of species to provide both nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds, and food for caterpillars. The assortment of plants includes varieties that will bloom at various times of the season to provide the maximum benefit to butterflies and hummingbirds. Unlike formal display gardens, the butterfly garden will take on a "weedy" look that mimics the natural environment.
As a part of this community project, the club also purchased a butterfly bench for the garden. That bench was recently delivered to the Nutley Public Library and will be installed this season.
According to Huey, members of the club will be making return trips to garden for maintenance and to possbily add more plants.
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