Our Garden Setup
In Spring 2013, we established 12 butterfly gardens at the Wormsloe Historic Site, Savannah, GA. Each garden is 25 by 50 feet or 1250 square feet (150 square meters). This site is ideal given the mild climate and year round populations of several butterfly species, including Monarchs (Danaus plexipus). A total of 128 plants representing 12 perennial species per garden are arranged in an 8 by 16 matrix with randomly assigned positions. In total there are 1,536 plants in our gardens. All gardens are fenced and equally irrigated with an automatic system.
Planting Spring 2013
In April and May, all of our plants were planted in the gardens.
Map of the Study Site
This map shows the location of the 12 gardens at the Wormsloe Historic Site. Gardens are organized into 3 blocks. In each block there are two gardens that only contain native plants and two gardens that have only exotic plants. Native gardens contain only plants native to Georgia while exotic gardens have popular garden plants not native to the United States. One of the native gardens in each block receives low management, where weed control and pruning is executed every other month, and the other native garden receives high management, where weed control is executed weekly. In other words, this is a a 2-by-2 factorial design with 3 replicates (i.e. blocks), where factors include management scheme (low or high) and plant type (native or exotic).
Garden Management Scheme
Can the intensity of garden maintenance affect butterflies?
Notice the difference between our gardens. Photo on the left shows a garden that is more intensely managed, much like a home garden. Weeds are frequently removed and plants are trimmed. Garden on the right is less heavily managed. Weeds might be beneficial to pollinators by providing hiding spots from predators and shelter from inclement weather.