Butterfly Magic at Ladew Gardens 4

The Butterfly House Provides Hands-on Education Experience to Visitors

The Butterfly House at Ladew Gardens in Monkton—the first of its kind in the region—is celebrating its fourth year showcasing native plants and the various butterflies that depend on them for food and shelter. The Butterfly House provides a hands-on educational experience on the natural history and fascinating life cycle of butterflies. Visitors can walk through and observe the plants, butterflies, caterpillars, chrysalis and eggs up close, while learning about the importance of native habitats, and plant and animal relations in nature, including that of butterflies as important pollinators of plants.

With the rise of colony collapse disorder in the honeybee population and the decline of the monarch butterfly, the team at Ladew believes it is incumbent upon environmental educators to teach the next generation about the interaction between plants and insects. The Butterfly House provides the ideal opportunity to expand the public’s understanding of the beneficial effects of pollinators and the vital role they play in the life cycle of all plants. Lace up your walking shoes, drive out to Monkton and check it out!

Did you know?

  • Each butterfly lady can lay hundreds of eggs! Yet only 1 percent of those tiny caterpillars in the eggs will grow up to be adult butterflies. Out in the wild, there are all kinds of predators such as spiders, praying mantis, birds, chipmunks, frogs and more that are looking for a nice caterpillar snack!
  • Caterpillars are the primary food source for many bird species in the spring, summer and fall. A pair of songbirds may feed their nestlings hundreds of caterpillars a day.
  • While many people plant flowers to attract butterflies, the caterpillars–who grow up to be butterflies—are often overlooked! And, caterpillars can be very picky eaters. Some, like the monarch, eat only one type of plant: the milkweed. So, without milkweed, we wouldn’t have monarchs.
  • Caterpillars eat leaves. It is very natural, and necessary, for there to be holes in your plant material from hungry caterpillars.  If you can appreciate this, you will learn to love that there are a few holes in your leaves. The majority of caterpillars will do no harm to your plants.
  • Many people plant butterfly bush to attract butterflies. While it certainly attracts butterflies, the nectar is a less nutritious source of food for butterflies than other options. And, the nonnative butterfly bush can become invasive. If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, try other options such as native perennials that will bloom from spring until fall.

Located 14 miles north of the Baltimore Beltway (I-695), the Butterfly House at Ladew is open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., through October 9. Admission to Ladew Gardens includes the Butterfly House, the Nature Walk and the magnificent Topiary Gardens. Admission for Ladew members and children under 2 is free. • Adults: $13 • Seniors (62+) and students: $10 • Children (2-12): $4

Ladew Topiary Gardens has been named “the most outstanding topiary garden in America” by the Garden Club of America and featured as one of “10 incredible topiary gardens around the world” by Architectural Digest. For more information, call 410.557.9570 or visit LadewGardens.com