When you hike the Uplands Trail at Westcave Preserve you pass through the Ahrns Grove. If you’ve been out recently, you will have noticed a few changes in the grove. Westcave conservation staff are working with Mayra Vazquez Radzinski of Luminata Landscape Solutions who has generously donated her time and expertise to redesign and expand the Butterfly Gardens in the grove. Westcave was awarded the Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas grant from the Native Plant Society of Texas and U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Westcave also received a grant from Texas Parks & Wildlife Department for garden materials and trail system expansion.
The new design will include additional benches, two butterfly-shaped garden beds, and two caterpillar-shaped garden beds. Once planted, the butterfly beds will resemble two different species of butterflies. The entire grove will also be fenced off to keep out any browsing animal looking for an easy snack! Staff aims to complete the beds by spring 2018.
The additional gardens and protective fence are a great draw for local and migrating pollinators. Once fully complete, the garden will be registered with the Native Plant Society of Texas as an official Monarch Waystation. As per the guidelines of the Native Plant Society and in adherence to the land use and management plans for the preserve, only native nectar plants and native milkweeds will be planted in the gardens.