Mercer’s always been butterfly friendly, but now it’s a certified waystation. Mercer recently introduced a new Pollinator Garden, funded in part by a grant from the Native Plant Society of Texas.
Located near the Children’s Garden, this garden features pollinator favorites such as milkweed, black-eyed Susans, and Mexican sunflowers. The garden’s location was chosen carefully as a transition between the Shakespeare Garden and the Children’s Garden, which also contains nectar-producing plants.
Jacob Martin, Mercer’s greenhouse manager, said Mercer hopes the garden will help spread awareness about the nation’s dwindling monarch and bee populations.
“We want people to be inspired to plant their own pollinator gardens when they visit,” he said. “They can come here and get ideas about what grows well in our area and the plants that attract the most pollinators. You can always pick out the most popular plants by the number of bees or butterflies you see around them.”
While most flowering perennials are active during the spring and summer, Martin says the garden contains plants attractive to pollinators visiting during all seasons.
“We chose plants that feed the caterpillars as well as the bees and butterflies,” he said. “Butterflies have different needs according to their life cycle.”
Martin said Mercer hopes to add signage to the area, so visitors can learn about the life cycle of the butterfly.
“Our goal is to create an educational space for visitors of all ages to learn about plants and the insects that rely on them,” he said.