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Cape May Garden Journal: Butterfly Garden Tour

By Jane Kashlak
Cape May Times Garden Columnist

September 12, 2004 - At the end of the summer season, when you've had more than your share of weeding and watering and deadheading, there's nothing more motivating than a tour of other people's gardens to get you back on track.

And I'm ready. I just got back from Pat Sutton's annual tour of private butterfly gardens in Cape May County.

Pat's with the Cape May Bird Observatory and, every September, she leads two dozen novice and veteran gardeners through some amazing backyards. It's always a two day event - day one in the Cape May Point area and day two north of the canal, in Cape May County.

While Cape May Point sees a lot of monarch migration each fall, Cape May County gardens north of the canal have the advantage of a little more space. I did the day two tour this year - the backyards ranged from a half acre in Del Haven to 15 acres in Woodbine.

Along the way we saw a monarch that had just emerged from its chrysalis (upper left), a group of leopard frogs by a brand new garden pond (below) and a hairstreak and a copper sharing a patch of pink sedum (above.)

We soaked up new plant names and new design ideas at every stop. We were mesmerized by towering yellow perennial sunflowers, brash orange mexican sunflowers, cool blue mist flower and bright white boltonias.

We ate our brown bag lunches while taking in a gorgeous Goshen garden, filled with whimsical garden artifacts.

We even made a stop at the Cape May Bird Observatory's own backyard habitat.

And we were all bone tired by the end of the day.

So tired that today, I should put my feet up and read a good garden book.

But no.

Seeing all those beautiful gardens and butterflies and yes, even the frogs, was just the motivation I needed.

Today's the day to pull crab grass before it sets seed, dig up the experiments that didn't work and plant all those things still in pots.

We have to finish tilling a brand new flower bed, collect seed and clean out the nasty grass from the old flower bed.

While we're at it, maybe we can even clean out the shed.

Now I just have to tell Garden Partner.
He didn't take the tour. He thought it was going to be a quiet Sunday.

Check future Cape May Garden Journals to see how our garden grows.

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