The primary mission of the Great South Bay Audubon Society is to advocate for the conservation of habitats for native birds and other native wildlife on Long Island.
It's not too late to join the Brookside Butterfly Garden Club. You don’t need a green thumb and you don’t need a large time commitment. To learn more and to sign up for meeting notification, please contact Janet Gremli at 631-563-7716 or Janet.Gremli@suffolkcountyny.gov.
By Janet Gremli
"Autumn is the hush before winter." ~ French Proverb
On October 12, 2015, beneath leaves shrouded in Autumnal colors and skies of blue, garden club members spent several hours tending to the Brookside Butterfly Garden. Fences needed mending, bushes needed trimming and the remaining flowers needed thinning.
At this time of year, long, narrow tufts of purple butterfly bush and plumes of fluffy yellow goldenrod dominate the garden. These plants are a source of nectar for migrating butterflies and bees, encouraging them to stay in the area and pollinate other plants. Clusters of deep pink starry flowers of the Autumn Joy sedum plant dot the garden border along with willowy, purple New England Asters. These early autumn blooming plants provide food late in the season to keep honey bees nurtured through the winter months.
Seed heads of Black-eyed Susan, phlox, bergamot and cone flowers were left on their stalks to allow sustainability of the garden and food for wintering birds. American Goldfinches, just shy of molting into their drab winter plumage, can easily be spotted feeding on the spike-like seeds of the purple cone flowers. Sturdy stems of the bergamot plant are the perfect perch for Black-capped Chickadees as the remaining seeds are individually extracted from each seed head. The tiny black seeds of the Black Eyed Susan, often scattered on the ground, will attract larger songbirds like cardinals, nuthatches and sparrows along with other seed-eating ground feeders. The old stems of Joe Pye Weed, left in place, provide winter cover for beneficial insects. Wrens, titmice, and juncos not only enjoy the seeds from these plants, but use the fluff of spent flowers to line their nests for warmth. Goldenrod provides seeds for Pine Siskens and serves as harborage for overwintering insects such as spiders and beetles.
While garden club members tended to their tasks, their chatter mimicked the endless chirping and tweeting of the birds at the nearby feeder. As our day ended, we were delighted to glimpse a hawk passing swiftly overhead.
With the waning daylight, the Butterfly Garden in it's Autumn apparel, looked muted and welcoming for all who may visit, whether bird, butterfly, bumble bee or nature lover!
Photos courtesy of Janet Gremli - Click image to enlarge
The Brookside Butterfly Garden Club has been busy at work these past few months. Time spent toiling in the garden has rendered another successful year of happy blooms. This past week, our first hummingbird siting was noted (Thank you, Vera!) The garden is full of brilliant red bee balm, crisp white Ox-eye daisies and many pretty pink cone flowers and Rose-of-Sharon. Volunteers have maintained the garden through weekly watering, weeding, trimming and the thinning of plants. Special thanks to Helga, Jody and Marie for their contributions of time and care. We even had a stealth volunteer of the four-footed variety. The presence of deer couldn't be mistaken as numerous plants were trimmed of blossoms before they even bloomed! Luckily, many plants came back more bushy and robust. While at Brookside, take the time to view the garden and enjoy one of Life's simple pleasures.
Sunday, July 7, 2013, began hot and steamy. Despite the temperatures nearing 90 degrees, the Brookside Butterfly Garden Club spent the morning weeding, trimming and deadheading the plantings in the garden. The hanging baskets were replenished with bright red and purple petunias and brightly colored nasturtiums. The garden was ablaze with red bee balm and, white ox-eye daisies, Black-eyed Susans and orange trumpet vine! While toiling in the soil, members were heckled by the noisy Black-capped chickadees scouting out the feeders. Thanks to Mother Nature’s generosity of sun and rain, the garden is growing very well!
On Saturday, March 30, 2013, the Brookside Butterfly Garden Club held their Spring garden clean-up. Four volunteers spent a beautiful morning removing much debris deposited over the winter from the Nor’easters and Superstorm Sandy. With the cold weather behind us, and under sunny skies with temperatures in the low 50’s, the grass was raked free of accumulated brush, leaves and litter surrounding the deck, sheds and garden area. The planters were filled with brightly colored spring flowers as a welcome sight to all who visit. The lawn looked beautiful speckled with purple and white crocus! During our visit, a red fox scampered across the lawn and headed to the weir, his distinct scent lingering long after he had disappeared.
Anyone interested in participating in the Butterfly Garden Club activities are welcome to join us on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 10:00 A.M. at Brookside to begin planning the additions to the garden. Feel free to participate in as many or few of the meetings and activities that are held as many hands make light work!
Photos courtesy of Judy Davis - Click image to enlarge
On Saturday, September 29, 2012, the Brookside Butterfly Garden Club spent several hours toiling in the garden and taking time to tidy the planted garden beds surrounding the buildings. Brightly colored chrysanthemums in hues of rust , yellow, purple and orange, fill the standing pots at both entrances to the house. The butterfly bushes were trimmed to allow for a final burst of color before the season ends. Perennial Ageratum, Milkweed pods, Joe Pye Weed, Goldenrod and New England Asters completed a mosaic of Autumn color against the backdrop of the changing leaves. Typical of the season, our work was accomplished under the ever-changing sky; from sun to shade, damp to dry, as the clouds drifted overhead.
We were easily distracted and keen to watch the very active feeders near the garden as Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Downey Woodpeckers , and Carolina Wrens flitted from pine branch to feeder throughout the day. Our tasks accomplished, we ended our day reflective of the changing seasons and the soon-be-finished gardening time of year. Our final meeting will be held in October. Please check back at the website for the date and time to be announced.
On Saturday, May 12, 2012, the Brookside Butterfly Garden Club began planting annuals in the garden for the 2012 season. Plants added to the garden to attract birds, butterflies and humming birds included black and blue salvia, marigolds, petunias, nasturtium, snapdragon, lantana, verbena, parsley, sweet William , lavender, sage and others. The garden soil was cultivated and all plantings were thoroughly watered at days end. Enthusiastic garden club members moved forward on a small native plant garden behind the shed and busily placed sedum and black-eyed Susans in the ground. With motivation abounding, the club members tirelessly removed weeds and grasses from the native plant garden on the north side of the GSBAS headquarters. With such gorgeous weather, sunny skies and comfortable temperatures, and folks who enjoy creating a beautiful place for all to share, an easy match was made for a very productive day!
On Friday, April 30, 2012 the Brookside Butterfly Garden Club had their first meeting of the season. With such pleasant weather for a Spring evening, we were able to spend most of our time in the garden. The grounds were raked, early weeds were pulled, and larger bushes were trimmed. The soil was tilled and lime was cultivated into the soil. Our efforts proved timely, as the first true rain shower for the area arrived on Sunday! It was a welcome sight to see the emergence of perennials such as primrose, columbine and violets that were planted last year.
Our next meeting will include choosing new plantings for this years’ garden. Please check your calendars and join us in our efforts. We will be meeting again on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 6:00 P.M., with a rain date of Saturday, May 12, 2012, at 9:00 A.M. All are welcome to come and share ideas, gardening stories, and contribute to the beautification of Brookside, located at 59 Brook Street, Sayville. We are directly across from the Sayville High School. Call 631-563-7716 with any questions and to let us know you are coming.
The Brookside Butterfly Garden Club members spent their evening attending to the needs of the garden.
Thank-you to all those members who have volunteered their time from the inception of the garden club by President Judy Davis; to the initial planning concepts of Mary Engelbert, Gen Lee, Barbara Mc Brien and Megan Mc Brien; to the rigors of soil preparation with Carol Jansch and the cuisine of Bob Wilson.
Our goal to create a garden that would attract both butterflies and hummingbirds has been met. As of this writing, both visitors have been spotted enjoying the fruits of our labor!
The Brookside Butterfly Garden Club has completed the planting of flowers in the garden. We were pleased with the variety of plants that were contributed by the members of the Great South Bay Audubon Society . Thank you to all members for the efforts made since the inception of the Butterfly Garden Club to move this project forward. At this time, we are looking ahead to the strengthening of the plants and to the near future when we will be able to sit back and observe the butterflies and hummers that come to visit!
On Tuesday, May 24, 2011 the Brookside Butterfly Garden Club met to discuss the placement of the plants that have been chosen for the garden. Discussion included how the plants should be placed and where they should be placed, the number of plants to be purchased and how soon the plants should be placed in the garden. After much discussion, ideas were tentatively placed on a schematic and we were all quite pleased with our progress. Luckily, we had a lovely evening and were able to venture into the garden several times to better visualize how to put our ideas in motion.
On May 11, 2011, the Butterfly Garden Club had the first of two lay-out and design meetings. Those in attendance discussed which plants would best suit the goals of attracting both butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. The following plants were chosen to be represented in the garden:
Special thanks to Bob and Edith Wilson for their donation of Phlox to the Butterfly Garden. Thanks to Jody Banaszak, Helga Merryman, Kathy K. , Judy Davis, and Gen Lee for their contributions during our previous planning meeting. Together we’re making Brookside a more beautiful place!
*** Members are welcome to donate any of the above-listed plants to the Butterfly Garden. Donations may be brought to Brookside on Wednesdays or Sundays from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. no later than June 30, 2011. ***
On Sunday, May 1, 2011, Helga, Jody and Janet along with Brookside Director Kathy K. collaborated on the final preparation of the Butterfly Garden prior to planting. The garden has had both compost and lime tilled into the soil. All obvious weeds have been pulled and unwanted perennial plants have been transplanted to border gardens on the property.
The Brookside Butterfly Garden Club held its first planning meeting on October 15, 2010. Enthusiasm was so high that we began work in the garden on October 24, 2010. We started by weeding and removing most of the plants from one side of the garden. The plants removed were either planted elsewhere on the property or planted in pots. Lime and dehydrated manure were added to the soil to prepare for spring planting.
After several hours of hard work, the club members were treated to a cookout. Bob Wilson was the master chef, who expertly cooked our burgers and hot dogs. It was the perfect ending to a productive day.