A community project is underway to revitalize a butterfly garden at Suseda Park at 5805 Murrell Road, which is on the east side of Murrell directly across from the Bayhill Viera East community.

The goal of the garden is to attract and nurture all types of butterflies while drawing nature lovers to enjoy the tranquility that such a setting provides.

The project has been deemed a Certified Butterfly Garden by the National North American Butterfly Association. With the help of Master Gardener Lisa Auld, plants have been chosen to attract butterflies. Milkweed is the No. 1 plant for attracting Monarch butterflies, which she said are on the endangered list.

The original garden was started in 2014 by the Viera East Community Association. Following many years of neglect, the VECA board decided to revive it.

The garden is in the same location as the original one at the north side of the parking area, just south of the main concrete walking path.

Two proposals were under consideration by the VECA board and they chose the proposal submitted in July 2022 by Bill Oakley, which calls for a total revitalization costing $2,000. Oakley proposed the revitalization as a two-year project although much has been completed already through the help of volunteers.

“The existing garden has been cleaned up. All of the mulch and wood chips needed have been donated,” Oakley said. “I would like to see us get three sponsors. This would be a yearly sponsorship of $250 each to include one for the upper garden, one for the lower portion of the garden which runs down near the pond, and one for a pathway. Included in the $250, would be a small sign recognizing the sponsor for that year. Sponsorship would be open to anyone interested.”

Oakley already has arranged for Boy Scouts to construct a wood chip walkway to the garden. It will be lined with wood landscaping timbers. Oakley said a small bench has been purchased, which will be placed at the top part of the garden close to the walkway and will be installed in October. There is already a picnic table beside the garden.

“This will be a quiet place to ponder nature,” Oakley said.

All native species of plants and all organic materials will be used for the project. Some of the many plants that are or will be included in the garden are: Milkweed, Firebush, Blue Porterweed, Sweet Broom, Indigo, Dune Sunflower. Absolutely no pesticides will be used.

“We are totally staying away from pesticides as they kill butterflies and the plants,” Ault said.

There will be a drip fountain as well as a drip bottle installed so that the butterflies always have fresh water to drink.

Volunteer residents have been working on the project. They include: Auld, Joan and Bill Oakley, Arlene and Ken Peck, Les Roner Hansen, Ana Carlsgaard and Debby Perl. The main sign to the garden is being painted by Les Roner Hansen’s granddaughter, Christina Marie Hahn. For further information, contact Eric Byrd at Fairway Management at ericbyrd@ fairwaymgmt.com