Butterfly habitat still blooming in Meriden

Butterfly habitat still blooming in Meriden


MERIDEN — Tiger swallowtails and white cabbage butterflies float from one flower to the next pollinating the garden-like area of the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association Butterfly and Bee Habitat.

Despite a stressful season for agriculture and gardens in the state, the area continues to bloom. This fall, the habitat will be renovated to attract even more butterflies.

“Diversity is important to attract butterflies, and color,” said Becky Martorelli, who cares for the habitat.

Martorelli plans to renovate the area between late September and October “when the garden goes to sleep.” Right now a number of aggressive weeds and plants are growing in the habitat, taking over the other plants.

Also in the habitat are Queen Anne’s lace, bee balm, tall sunflowers and other colorful blossoms.

In addition to weeds and aggressive plants, in the past two years the habitat has been struggling as a reflection of mother nature. Recent droughts stressed the plants. Combined with the warm winter and sudden snowstorm in February this year, plants of all types have suffered, especially the butterfly habitat, Martorelli said.

Mayor Kevin Scarpati is enthusiastic about the work QRWA does and said the habitat is a positive thing for the community.

“The garden is a unique way to showcase the environment,” he said.

The renovation this fall will involve digging up the overgrown plants while preserving ones that are still viable. The plan is to section the habitat to control the spreading of more aggressive plants like Queen Anne’s lace.

Additionally, Martorelli is looking to plant new life in the habitat. Goldenrod and anise hyssop are both good for pollination and host plants. She plans to have an area of successive blooms so the habitat will be full all season.

Martorelli said the members of QRWA discussed installing a watering system, but she wonders whether the garden should simply mimic Mother Nature.

“The garden needs help, though,” she said.

Martorelli cares for the garden mostly alone so she is always looking for volunteers to help out. She collects money from bottle deposits and puts it toward use for the garden but they do look for donations.

“We have come a long way,” she said.

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