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Doug Blachly Butterfly Trail and Garden

Construction on the Douglas Blachly Butterfly Trail began in 1989-90 with a grant from Texas Botanical Garden Society board member Ruth Puett. The butterfly open-air hatchery garden was initiated by a donation from Curtis and Patricia Meadows. Butterfly GardenThe Butterfly Garden and Trail has been filled with local flowers and plants that attract numerous butterflies, providing visitors with a view of many of Austin's attractive species as well as migrating varieties. Guided tours feature the interaction between insects and plants in an ecosystem.

The Austin Area Garden Council dedicated the Blachly Teaching Point in November 2000 as a memorial to Doug Blachly. This is the first "learning station" to bring the classroom into the garden. Additional stations will be erected around Zilker Botanical Garden as funding allows.

Kate's Arbor was dedicated May 12, 1998 to the memory of Kate Kelley and donated by her family. It was her last wish that an arbor be built and placed on the Butterfly Garden Trail. Carolyn Kelley, Kate's sister, was the landscape architect who prepared the original design for the butterfly trail and Lars Stanley constructed the arbor.

During 2009-10, the original butterfly garden was revitalizated and enhanced through significant removal of invasive Japanese Ligustrum in many areas, native tree trimming to improve form and allow more light, irrigation work to improve function, and rock retaining walls built for two of the large beds on the trail. Plant identification signage was added with more to come. Along with those improvements, garden design principles that enhance color, form, and beauty that both butterflies and garden patrons can appreciate are being used to enhance the visitor experience and excite interest in a landscape type that also functions as a wildlife habitat.

Many new nectar and larval plant species, like sedums, passionflowers, and coneflowers, which local and migrating butterflies specifically enjoy, have been added. Plans for the future include interpretive educational components, more new plant species, a trellis for passionflower, a new entry arbor, and more rock retaining walls. If you have not visited this beautiful garden space lately, plan a visit and be inspired to attract flying art in the form of butterflies to your own garden.  

©Zilker Botanical Garden,
Austin Area Garden Council