The Butterfly Garden at the Science Museum of Western Virginia has transitioned from an exotic butterfly habitat to a native pollinator garden. The Hidden Garden features a variety of local butterflies and flowering plants.
The museum’s new pollinator garden will focus on the importance of insect pollinators and their lifecycles. This change also allows the museum to educate the public about insect pollinators and to demonstrate some of the plants that can be grown in local gardens to encourage happy and healthy insect pollinators, including our beautiful native butterflies and moths. All of the plants within the garden are species that thrive in Virginia, which can be grown in our guests’ gardens to support butterflies and other pollinators. The museum will be providing seeds for some of these plants to the public with the Hidden Garden: Seeds of Change program. This program will provide seeds from the garden and from local collectors to museum visitors who wish to make their own gardens more hospitable to local butterflies and other pollinators.
The goal of this exhibit is to inspire people to look beyond just the adult butterfly to see the entire system; to inspire an appreciation for nature as a whole. Even after opening, visitors should expect the exhibit to continue growing and developing over the coming years. The previous version of the garden took 2-3 years to fully grow in. As it is now a more complex exhibit, there is a high likelihood that the Hidden Garden will take even longer to fully develop. The museum intends to add new species of insects to the garden throughout the summer.