Work by Amy Sturdy

Butterfly Paradise

April 23, 2002


The students of Daniel High School want to remember those classmates that have passed away while attending the school. There is a courtyard already present at the school which has been dedicated to the cause. This courtyard is deemed a memorial to honor the lives of fellow students. Already present in the courtyard on the north side is a memorial Bradford pear tree (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford') and stone. The senior class wishes to add a butterfly garden and seating areas to supply a place reflect.


The main focus in the garden is going to be the fountain in the center. The students have already repainted and repositioned it to better suit the needs of the space. Surrounding the fountain is a bench for people to sit and reflect on while gazing out onto the butterfly garden, which will represent the living and passing of lives through the metamorphosis of the butterfly's life.


All of the plants in this area are butterfly and/or wildlife attracting plants. On either side of the flagstone pathway at the entrance are butterfly bushes (Buddleja davidii 'Black Knight'). These are a brilliant dark purple and will be blooming when the students come back to school in the fall. Around the butterfly bushes are black-eyed susans (Rudbeckia hirta 'Beauty Mix'), which bloom in an array of oranges. Sedum (Sedum spectabil 'Autumn Joy'), purple cone flower (Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'), and Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) are all in masses so the butterfly's can see them. The fennel is an excellent plant for the pupa stage and used by larva as food. Salvia (Salvia x 'Indigo Spires') and daylilies (Hemerocallis 'Stella D'Oro') add color and seasonal interest during the spring and summer months. Phlox and dianthus border the garden on the inner and outer sides respectively.


The sides of the courtyard have been enhanced with more azaleas which will fill between the existing ones. A groundcover of Bugleflower (Ajuga retapns) was also added for more interest and color. Four birdbaths have been placed in these spaces to provide the wildlife with standing water in which to drink from.


Schoolyards are places for teaching, and in order to provide more teaching area, an outdoor classroom at the south end of the courtyard has been added. A bench, which follows the perimerter of the grass, can sit an entire class. The sides angle in to provide an intimate setting for students and teachers to interact. This area was chosen because there is a hallway on the south side of the courtyard. This will enable a class to be taught without disrupting one going on inside the building.
Sustainability is a rising issue in the world today and schools are places where these issues are being taught. To reflect this, the courtyard has been designed to be very sustainable. All of the plants used are adapted for the conditions of the site. They are all sun loving if they are planted in areas of intense sun, and tolerate shade in those shady spaces. After the plants have been established they should not require much additional watering, unless there is a severe drought. Mature size was taken into consideration when choosing the plant material; therefore, maintenance should be minimal. In addition, there are places for wildlife to come nest and feed.


This butterfly paradise incorporates the needs of the clients with a beautiful design. This courtyard will be used for years to come as a place for thought, reflection, and learning. The current students can begin this project and pass it down to future students and thus will be a place to be respected by all.