A new installation is now enhancing our Tropical Butterfly House, enriching the experience for butterflies and guests alike. This week we added a living wall to the area next to the butterfly emerging window. Previously a blank white space, it is now covered by a six foot by six foot hanging garden planted with orchids, bromeliads, flowers and foliage. Replacing empty wall for more greenery enhances the sense of space and creates the feeling of an escape to flowering tropics. Once the plants are established, we hope to see the wall become a floral attraction as butterflies visit it for nectar.
Staff members already see butterflies exploring it. Perhaps they are visiting some of the flowers, attracted by their bright colors. They may also like the wall itself. In their native habitats many of the butterflies would roost on rough, vine-covered trees and drink moisture from their damp bark. This planted wall might fill some of those behavioral needs.
Kudos to Horticulturist Jillian Weed for imagining and creating the wall, and to our Facilities Technician Gene Lewis, whose engineering allows this 150 pound object, made of PVC, mesh and hundreds of zip ties, to hang magically on the wall and look like a bed of flowers. Come pay it a visit and remember why the Tropical Butterfly House inspires you.