By Leigh Sabine
Special to the Moultrie News
On May 17, 2013, Community Pride of Charleston County awarded the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy and partners, Alhambra Garden Club and the Mount Pleasant Waterworks, the “Spirit of Cooperation” award to commend the partnership that created a community enriching project in the form of a butterfly garden. Just how does our garden grow? Read on to learn how the project began.
With the mission of preserving the places you live and love, the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy, (MPLC), was delighted to secure a 57 acre conservation easement ( 6.5 acres of which is high ground) on land in the heart of Mount Pleasant. In February of 2010, MPLC, a 501c(3) non-profit land trust, set about to increase the public benefit of a portion of land adjacent to the Marsh View Trail that lies next to a pre-existing dog park and paved trail leading through the preserved wooded area and opening on to a beautiful marsh view. The MPLC elected to engage community involvement in designing and establishing a butterfly garden for this piece of land, thus encouraging butterfly survival and promoting environmental awareness in a therapeutic setting.
Recently, I checked in with author Mary Alice Monroe, and learned that the original inspiration for the garden stemmed from a request for Monroe to speak at the Mount Pleasant Waterworks about butterfly conservation. “I felt that, instead of just speaking about butterflies, why not plant a butterfly garden to actually demonstrate to the community how butterflies thrive?” Monroe said. Monroe shared the idea with former MPLC Director John Girault, and the project began to take shape.
On April 29, 2012, the MPLC proudly hosted a “Butterfly Fling” to officially open the final enhancement of the site for the enjoyment of all who visit the trail. Landscape architect Katy Wood of Katy Wood Design artfully chose hosts of indigenous plants and shrubs in hues of purple, white, pink and yellow to optimize the attraction of butterflies seeking nectar as well as host plants for laying eggs. “Guests of the event were encouraged to buy plants to take home and also to plant that day in the butterfly garden,” added Monroe. “In this way, children could come back to the garden to visit and see their plant. This helps us create conservation stewards of tomorrow.”
Incorporating an abundance of native perennials such as pink and yellow verbena and lantana, masses of lush buddleia (butterfly bush) and color related annuals and native honeysuckle, Wood and her partners and community volunteers have created a thriving ecosystem that wildly attracts butterflies and bees while beautifully enhancing this tract of land. The garden is maintained in part by the efforts of the Alhambra Garden Club and Girl Scout Troop 394.
As the new executive director for the MPL, Catherine Main invites you to explore this butterfly garden as she feels it embodies a wonderful example of what the MPLC strives to offer the community. With the combined efforts of community partners, volunteers and the MPLC, Main seeks to preserve and enhance our local environment one project at a time.
Garden partners for the Marsh View Trail Butterfly Garden include Katy Wood Landscape Design, local author and butterfly enthusiast Mary Alice Monroe, Mount Pleasant Waterworks, butterfly expert Linda Love (aka “Nana Butterfly”), Springfield Construction and Hughes Lumber for arbor construction, Whitesides Elementary School, Ryan Wilcox, Alhambra Garden Club, Friends of Jean Clute and SC Native Plant Society.)
To learn more about the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy or to become involved in helping to preserve the places you live and love, please contact us at 843-224-1849 or www.mountpland.org.
Leigh Sabine is a local writer and blogger at pluffmudkids.blogspot.com.