The Bob Jones Nature Center is at the southern tip of Denton County and this year we have been invited to be part of The Denton County Master Gardener Annual Spring Garden Tour on Saturday, May 11.
“Living Green with Style” is the theme of the Spring Garden Tour, which will be from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 11.
In addition to the Bob Jones Nature Center, there are six additional gardens on this year’s fund-raising tour, including one each in Southlake, Highland Village, Lewisville and Carrollton and two in Flower Mound. Come out and spend the day in beautiful Denton County gardens. Learn about a variety of gardening topics from educational opportunities at the gardens. Master Gardeners will be on-site at every location to answer your questions.
Please visit the Denton County Master Gardener Association website for additional information. Garden Tour tickets are $10 in advance and may be purchased online at www.dcmga.com. On the day of the tour, tickets are $12 for admission to all gardens or $5 for a single garden. Children under 14 do not require a ticket. Local nurseries will provide door prizes for the event. The Spring Garden Tour will be held rain or shine. Cameras are welcome. Proceeds from the tour fund public educational projects and programs throughout Denton County. Entrance to the Bob Jones Nature Center is free, so if you want to visit this garden only, no tour ticket is required.
Bring your family for a nature walk through the trails at Bob Jones Nature Center. The Center’s landscape showcases the beauty of native plants and will inspire you to use them in your own yard. The plants are drought, sun, and shade tolerant. The Center will host a composting demonstration on the day of the tour. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenery!
The landscape around the Nature Center facility was designed and installed by Texas Master Gardeners using Texas native plants and heirloom bulbs brought to the area by homestead settlers. The plants featured are drought, sun, and shade tolerant varieties. Find out what can grow in your yard.
Check out this little video called “Why Native Plants” narrated by Doug Tallamy (thanks to the Native Plant Society website - www.npsot.org).
The expanded butterfly garden was designed and installed by Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and is designed to attract butterflies. The garden includes both larval and nectar plants, thus providing food for the caterpillars during the butterflies larval stage and nectar for the adult stage. You might want to add some butterfly-friendly plants to your home landscape!
Thanks to Jenny McLane and Lo Logan for all their volunteer hours in the garden. Jenny puts together the Butterfly of the Month information.
Butterfly of the Month!
Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Upperside of male is bright orange with wide black borders and black veins; hindwing has a patch of scent scales. Upperside of female is orange-brown with wide black borders and blurred black veins. Both sexes have white spots on borders and apex.
3 3/8 - 4 7/8 inches (8.6 - 12.4 cm).
Adults warm up by basking dorsally (with their wings open and toward the sun). Females lay eggs singly under the host leaves; caterpillars eat leaves and flowers. Adults make massive migrations from August-October, flying thousands of miles south to hibernate along the California coast and in central Mexico. A few overwinter along the Gulf coast or south Atlantic coast. Along the way, Monarchs stop to feed on flower nectar and to roost together at night. At the Mexico wintering sites, butterflies roost in trees and form huge aggregations that may have millions of individuals. During the winter the butterflies may take moisture and flower nectar during warm days. Most have mated before they leave for the north in the spring, and females lay eggs along the way. Residents of tropical areas do not migrate but appear to make altitude changes during the dry season.
In North America during spring and summer there may be 1-3 broods in the north and 4-6 broods in the south. May breed all year in Florida, South Texas, and southeastern California.
Caterpillar Host Plants:
Milkweeds including common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), swamp milkweed (A. incarnata), and showy milkweed (A. speciosa); and milkweed vine in the tropics. Most milkweeds contain cardiac glycosides which are stored in the bodies of both the caterpillar and adult. These poisons are distasteful and emetic to birds and other vertebrate predators
Adult Food Plants:
Nectar from all milkweeds. Early in the season before milkweeds bloom, Monarchs visit a variety of flowers including dogbane, lilac, red clover, lantana, and thistles. In the fall adults visit composites including goldenrods, blazing stars, ironweed, and tickseed sunflower.
Many open habitats including fields, meadows, weedy areas, marshes, and roadsides.
Southern Canada south through all of the United States, Central America, and most of South America. Also present in Australia, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands.
Look for adult Monarchs nectaring on milkweed and mistflower in our garden. You will not find eggs on milkweed because Fall migrating female Monarchs do not have fully formed reproductive organs. When their season in the migratory site has ended, their reproductive organs will mature and they'll be able to produce a new Monarch generation.
Attracting Monarch butterflies: Plant milkweed (Asclepias curassavica and tuberosa). Make sure that your plant has not been sprayed with pesticides. Adult female monarchs will always choose to lay eggs on milkweeds that are the most suitable for their larva. The female Monarch tastes the plant with her feet before deciding to deposit eggs on it.
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