New butterfly garden opens in Sonoma

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Three Sonoma Valley organizations have joined together to create a large, colorful garden of wildflowers and perennial flowering plants to demonstrate how richly beautiful a garden for butterflies and bees can be.

The goal of the project is to provide a habitat for Monarch butterflies, which are on the verge of extinction due to habitat loss. An additional goal is to inspire others to make their own bee-and-butterfly-friendly gardens so that a super-highway of habitats for pollinators may flourish and attract pollinators throughout the entire Sonoma Valley.

The garden is located behind the First Congregational Church, Sonoma, at 252 W. Spain St. The three collaborating organizations are the Earth Care Committee at the Congregational Church, the General Vallejo Home State Historic Park, and Valley of the Moon Garden Club, a member of National Garden Clubs. The three groups worked together to select and clear land, add planting mix, install drip irrigation, sow seeds, grow native Narrow Leaf Milkweed and pollinator plants for the habitat, and mulch it all. A temporary deer fence will be replaced with permanent fencing this fall.

The garden’s creators, along with other community members, have fostered and released more than 30 Monarch butterflies into the garden which they raised from eggs to caterpillars, and chrysalises in special tents to butterflies. The Monarchs will soon be migrating south to warmer climates where their relatives came from several generations ago.

Free tours of the pollinator garden are available on Sundays and Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m., until Oct. 30.

Gardeners can assist with plant information and tips on creating a pollinator garden of one’s own.

For questions, call 935-8986.

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