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Copyright 2009-2010 by
Mary Brotherton
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Inside my Brain

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

On Wednesday, January 25, at 2:00PM, at the Titusville Public Library, located at 2121 S. Hopkins Avenue, Lynn Pearson will give a free demonstration and explain how easy it is for anyone to create a beautiful butterfly habitat of their own. Pearson has worked with Brevard Wuestoff Hospice for twelve years. She spent eight years as a hospice nurse, and now works as Community Outreach Specialist.

All hospice nurses are encouraged to find special ways to remember their patients who have died. Each nurse finds some special way that is unique. Pearson initially chose to plant a rose bush for each person who had been in her care. “Only a naïve nurse would do something like that,” she chuckled. “Soon, my one acre yard was filled with rose bushes!”

She later went to Rockledge Gardens and listened to a speaker who talked about butterfly gardens. There, she got a list of the native plants that attract butterflies. She started reading and observing what kinds of butterflies were already in her neighborhood, and she soon learned which plants make good hosts for the voraciously feeding caterpillars, and which attract the nectar loving adult butterflies.

“Different butterflies use different plants to lay their eggs on,” said Pearson. “Supporting butterflies is fun and easy. It’s neat to see the different kinds of butterflies you get in your yard.”

Planting just two native host plants can attract as many as five or more different species of butterflies, such as the beautiful Julia, Monarch, or Zebra Longwing. Pearson remembers how one year she discovered that the Eastern Black Swallowtail showed a preference for the fennel in her herb garden. “Within a week, the voracious caterpillars had stripped it bare! I replanted it, and within a week, it was gone again. It was like butterfly candy, but it wasn’t cost effective at all.”

During her demonstration, she will explain how a butterfly habitat differs from simply planting foliage that attracts butterflies. “Many of the flowers that attract butterflies also attract hummingbirds,” she said. “If you only have nectar plants, they won’t stay; you need host plants too. Create a butterfly paradise, and somehow you get more and more butterflies.”

“It’s for everyone, young or old,” said Pearson, with enthusiasm. “If you focus on Florida’s native plants, it’s much easier and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Just seeing a butterfly brings joy.” Pearson’s joy and enthusiasm is contagious as she tells about the lifecycle of butterflies, and remembers specific encounters she’s had with her butterflies over the past seven years.

For more information or to reserve your space at the demonstration, call the Titusville Public Library at (321) 264-5026.