The Pearson Plaza Butterfly Garden provides host and nectar plants for butterflies, bees and other pollinators (photo by Jeff Sabo).
The Pearson Plaza Butterfly Garden provides host and nectar plants for butterflies, bees and other pollinators (photo by Jeff Sabo).

Miami's butterfly gardens provide beauty and resources


A male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on phlox "Coral Flame" at Upham Hall Terrace Bluestone Garden (photo and information by Dan Garber).

By Susan Miekle, university news and communications

Butterflies are visiting Miami thanks to pollinator-friendly gardens created by horticulturalist Dan Garber last year and now in peak bloom.

The gardens are designed to provide food sources for pollinators, especially the Monarch butterfly. Populations of Monarch butterflies have been rapidly declining due to habitat loss in North America. 

Miami's butterfly gardens contain flowering plants that are native to the area and provide homes and food for native animal species, including butterflies, hummingbirds and other birds, and a number of species of bees.

The key to creating a garden for the Monarch, says Garber, is to include plants that meet the needs for all four life stages and include the host plant Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) along with nectar plants such as Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Liatris (Liatris spicata), Purple Coneflower (Echinacea), Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and Bee Balm (Monarda). 

The Pearson Plaza Butterfly Garden — which students from the Advocates for Animals and Entomology clubs helped to fund and create — is a certified Monarch Waystation. 


An American Painted Lady butterfly on a "Becky" Shasta Daisy at the Pearson Plaza Butterfly Garden (photo by Dan Garber).

Students, staff and faculty collect data on the Great Monarch Migration from this garden and from the Natural Areas Bird Blind Butterfly Garden, also a certified Monarch Waystation. 

Interested in the plants in these gardens?

Check out a list of the plants, their growing habits and the pollinators they attract on the Butterfly Gardens website.

View butterfly gardens by Garber in these locations across campus:
  • Pearson Plaza Butterfly Garden.
  • Natural Areas Bird Blind Butterfly Garden.
  • Upham Hall Terrace Bluestone Garden.
  • Triangle garden near Boyd Hall.
  • Rec Sports butterfly garden (south side near Oak Street).
  • High Street butterfly garden (bus stop north of Laws Hall).
The next best thing to viewing the gardens in person:

If you are not able to view the gardens in person, the next best thing is to visit the Miami University Butterfly Gardens Facebook page for up-to-date photos and videos.