Pleasant Grove Park Butterfly Garden abuzz

Contributed by E.Dianne Campbell

There’s a lot of fluttering and buzzing and humming going on these days at the Butterfly Garden in Pleasant Grove Park. The height of summer is the best time to observe the pollinators working in the native plant setting, and the fenced garden is always accessible to the public.  

Pollinators are busy from early spring through fall as they sample a wide variety of native species planted by the Fluvanna Master Gardeners. Colors and textures of the plants and blooms charm winged and human visitors alike — wild blue indigo, yucca, beard tongue, mountain mint, cone flowers, golden Alexander, milkweed, and oxeye sunflowers are among them. Meanwhile, a mockingbird has chosen to build a nest in the coral honeysuckle growing over the entry trellis, and bluebirds have taken up residence in the houses that are offered.

The Butterfly Garden is a welcome resource for parents sparking children’s curiosity or walkers stopping for a while of lovely solitude. Photographers love the challenge for their close-up lenses. New area residents learn what they could plant to attract pollinators at home. And homeschoolers make a full day visit with adding tours of the nearby community garden, the Historic Farm Museum, and the Pleasant Grove House Museum. Picnic tables located around the park and the pole barn shelter offer spots to enjoy a bagged lunch. Hiking maps in the kiosks show how to find trails that start nearby.  

The Butterfly Garden started to take shape in 2015 when the Master Gardener team planted and tended nearly 500 new native plants. The pollinators responded, but so did the garden pests familiar to residents of the area – deer and other critters. A private donation in 2021 turned frustration into success as a 10-foot fence was erected around the garden, complete with a footer fence to keep out other critters.  With the support of director Aaron Spitzer, Fluvanna County Parks and Recreation has enabled the installation of a waterline and other garden improvements.   

A team of Fluvanna Master Gardeners meets weekly to weed, water, plant and thin plants as needed. In the spring, area home gardeners get to plant their own attractions for pollinators when the Master Gardeners trim back and edit Butterfly Garden plants and pot them for the annual Master Gardener plant sales held at the end of April. This is the only fundraising event for the Fluvanna Master Gardeners, and the proceeds are used for scholarships and community education for county residents. 

“We have created a tame gem of a pollinator garden for all of Fluvanna to enjoy,” notes Rich Muccia, Fluvanna Master Gardener and co-coordinator of the Butterfly Garden. For further information, contact

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