Thanks to a redesign, Snetsinger Butterfly Garden attracting more pollinators than before

Date: August 28, 2018

During our previous visit to the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden on Watershed Clean-up Day, April 21, the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners and community stewards were hard at work removing invasive species from the three-acre site. 

See Photo Gallery

“Most open-field sites in Pennsylvania will revert to forest sooner or later, and Snetsinger Butterfly Garden is no exception,” the garden’s website explains. “To continue as a butterfly habitat, the area requires active management to keep second-growth tree species and invasive shrubs and perennials from transforming the open meadow into a forest.” 

Those efforts, which completely changed the garden’s appearance, marked the beginning of a long-term management plan. The Master Gardeners saw an opportunity to redesign the layout. When we cleared the meadow,” said Pam Ford, “I kept saying, ‘a white canvas. So many possibilities.'"

In cleaning up, they created an opportunity to rethink and relocate their demonstration gardens, which serve as a major educational resource for our community. They were literally planting the seeds for an improved habitat that supports more bees, butterflies, and birds than before.

Indeed, when we visited again four months later — during Centre Region Parks and Recreation’s “So Long, Summer Shindig” August 25 at Tudek Park — we saw a multitude of monarch butterflies flitting about, bumble bees feeding on nectar, and bright yellow finches enjoying their natural habitat.

Last spring’s clean-up paid off. The redesigned Snetsinger Butterfly Garden now features newly developed gardens and new plantings. Here’s a list of the featured gardens that are designed to inspire the plants you choose for your own gardens:

Woodland Demonstration Garden
In this woodland area of trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs, species of native plant species have been selected for their use by wildlife as a source of food and shelter. 

Discovery Garden
Pollinator-friendly practices for gardeners who want to create a protective habitat in your backyard. 

Monarch Waystation
Monarch larvae feed exclusively on milkweed. This demonstration area showcases several species of milkweed to create, conserve, and protect monarch habitats. 

Serenity Space
This healing, restorative nook -- with wheelchair friendly access -- encourages all to experience soothing grasses, pollinator friendly plants, and a panoramic view of  Tussey Ridge.

NEW ~ Backyard Bird Habitat
This new demonstration garden showcases plants and features for supporting bird life in your backyard.

NEW ~ Native Shrub Showcase
Adding native shrubs to your landscape is one of the best ways to increase populations of butterflies, birds, and other wildlife.
NEW ~ Weird and Wonderful Plants
Have you heard of figwort, rattlesnake master, or giant purple hyssop? These unique plants all have special importance for pollinators. While they may not be the showiest in our garden — they're certainly some of the most interesting.

Bee Monitoring Study
This garden is part of a statewide survey to identify the best cultivars of tickseed and bee balm to support pollinators.

Native Bee Conservation Garden and “Bee Hotel”
The focal point of this space is a bee and bug "hotel" that incorporates a large variety of nesting material for native bees, beneficial insects and butterflies.  

Coming soon — the Layered Landscape
Ground covers, perennials, shrubs and trees all working in concert to provide a richly layered landscape that supports pollinators and wildlife at every level.

Upcoming Events
Mini Bio-Blitz and Monarch Tagging, September 8. Please register by Wednesday September 5. 
Snetsinger Butterfly Garden Autumn Tour, September 23. 

Learn more in our Community Calendar

Learn more about the demonstration gardens

The Snetsinger Butterfly Garden story

Snetsinger Butterfly Garden and Tudek Park Photo Galleries