A favorite attraction at Seabourne Creek Nature Park is the colorful butterfly garden —
an ideal spot to watch natural beauty take flight.
PHOTOS BY HOIMAN LOW, JOHN DONAHO
The garden, created for the enjoyment of visitors to the park, features several beds with over 40 varieties of host and nectar plants that attract and feed butterflies and their offspring. Most of these plants are native to our area. Pathways lead visitors through a flowering display of butterfly favorites. Two pergolas with picnic tables allow for visitors to sit in the shade and watch the butterflies or enjoy lunch as the butterflies flit about. Educational signs lead you through the garden so adults and children alike can learn about butterflies and their importance as they visit the garden.
This garden is the brainchild of the Texas Master Naturalists-Coastal Prairie Chapter members who created and installed the garden and continue to maintain it. Home to more than 35 species of butterflies, the garden draws visitors to Seaborne Creek Nature Park while providing
a valuable habitat for native butterflies.
If you are visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday morning, you might find some of our members there working in the flower beds and getting their hands dirty. Feel free to ask questions! We would be thrilled to show you around. You also might see a monarch or swallowtail caterpillar munching on some plants.
Watch this YouTube video to go on a virtual tour of the
SCNP Butterfly Garden!
Some of the species of butterflies
you might see in the garden include:
- Black Swallowtail
- Red Admiral
- Sulphurs, several species
- Hairstreak, several species
- Gulf Fritillary
- Painted Lady
- Skippers, several species
PHOTOS BY TMNCPC MEMBERS
The garden was created specifically to include host and nectar plants for butterflies in our local area. Plants don’t have to be native to be a wonderful addition to a butterfly garden! Here are some of the plants you will see in the garden. You can include these plants in your garden at home as well to attract butterflies:
|HOST PLANT||ATTRACTS THIS BUTTERFLY|
|White-veined Pipevine (Aristolocia Fimbriata)||Pipevine Swallowtail|
|Passionvine (several varieties)||Gulf Fritillary|
|Blue Butterfly Pea Vine||Long-Tailed Skipper|
|Candlestick Plant||Cloudless Sulphur|
|Senna (Cassia spp.)||Cloudless Sulphur|
|Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)||Black Swallowtail|
|Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)||Monarch and Queen|
|NECTAR PLANTS – ATTRACT ALL BUTTERFLIES!||SCIENTIFIC NAME|
|Black-Eyed Susan||Rudbeckia hirta|
|Blazing Star Liatris||Liatris spp.|
|Button Bush||Cephalanthus occidentalis|
|Coral Honeysuckle||Lonicera sempervirens|
|Indian blanket or Firewheel||Gaillardia pulchella|
|Lanceleaf coreopsis||Coreopsis lanceolata|
|Mexican Orchid Tree||Bauhinia variegata|
|Obedient Plant||Physostegia spp.|
|Purple Coneflower||Echinacea purpurea|
|Texas Star Hibiscus||Hibiscus coccineus|
You can create your own butterfly habitat at home in your backyard as well! Here are some tips to help you get started:
PLANT YOUR GARDEN IN FULL SUN!
Plants, especially flowering plants, need sun to make food for themselves
and nectar for butterflies. Butterflies also need sun to warm their bodies for flight.
PLANT BUTTERFLY-ATTRACTING FLOWERS!
Butterflies are attracted to flowers with strong scents and bright colors
where they drink sweet, energy-rich nectar. Select plants that are native
to our area and they will attract local butterflies.
INCLUDE HOST PLANTS IN YOUR GARDEN!
Butterflies lay their eggs on host plants that the emerging caterpillars will eat.
The sight of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis will more than make up
for the chewed leaves.
USE COLORFUL PLANTS!
Butterflies see more colors than humans do. They seem to prefer
red, orange, yellow, purple and dark pink. A large, colorful garden is easy for butterflies
to find and encourages them to stay longer.
DON’T USE CHEMICAL PESTICIDES
Pesticides kill butterflies, caterpillars and other useful insects.
Try these methods instead: plant marigolds, petunias, mint and other herbs
that naturally repel pests, encourage ladybugs and dragonflies
to dine in your garden, wash pests away with insecticidal soap.
LEARN ABOUT NATIVE BUTTERFLIES!
Each butterfly has a favorite nectar plant and needs a specific host plant
where it will lay eggs. Some local favorites are the Gulf Fritillary (host plant is passionvine),
and Monarch (host plant is milkweed). Learn about local butterflies, so you can provide
the right match of plants to make your garden a popular hangout.
SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE BUTTERFLIES!
You’ve set the stage; now watch the show. You won’t be disappointed.
Interested in learning more about the species of butterflies, moths and dragonflies seen at Seabourne Creek Nature Park? Check out our citizen science project at iNaturalist!
PHOTO BY HOIMAN LOW