Caterpillar hosts: Various oaks including blue oak (Q. douglasii),
coast live oak Quercus agrifolia),
and valley oak
The Mournful Duskywing can be found in oak woodlands from Northern California south through central
Arizona, southern New Mexico, the mountains of Mexico, and Central America to Colombia and will
sometimes stray to South Texas.
Annual Open Gardens Celebration
It's our 20th anniversary!
Come celebrate with us...
Sunday, June 25th, 2017
10 am to 4 pm
Free! No Reservations Needed!
~Bird and butterfly sightings
~Plants, books, and crafts for sale
Each summer, Hallberg Butterfly Gardens invites friends and neighbors from all over to come to Graton and enjoy a day with us.
Look for announcements in local nurseries, local papers, or the current Farm Trails guide...or become
a Friend of the Garden and we will notify you in our annual newsletter.
Here are some highlights
from the last few years:
It was a beautiful 91 degree day. Parking Volunteers Duane, Mark, Richard, and Ryan helped guests park or ride down in the golf cart.
They came from 17 Sonoma County cities, 36 other California cities, and four other states.
Ryan Snapp recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout for planning and completing the steps to the meadow and had an impressive ceremony
in Armstrong Grove Woods on July 24th. Visitors are now able to enjoy a safe walk to obtain a close-up view of the meadow. We are
grateful that he chose us for his Eagle Scout Project.
In the Pipevine Theater, where 22 wildflowers collected in the gardens were displayed, guests were greeted by Karen and accompanying
detailed information about each. Next door, Alex and Wintress were showing a Monarch caterpillar and the Gulf Fritillary crysalids, as
well as Pipevine and Anise caterpillars from the gardens. Some witnessed the emergence of one Gulf Fritillary from the chrysalis.
Host plants shown with accompanying pictures of butterflies included oak, stinging nettle, willow, plantain, aster, thistle, mallow,
grasses, milkweed, radish, Dutchman's Pipe, Fennel, buckeye, and ocean spray. Spring, the horse stabled nearby, was aware of the many
visitors and she kept whinnying. Alex quipped, "I'm hoarse!" as she answered questions about useful weeds.
At the top of the hill, Claire and Alexandra answered questions about birds. Using the scope that Claire brought, they helped
visitors closely observe the woodpeckers in the dead tree. Nineteen bird species were identified by sight or call: Acorn Woodpecker,
Pacific Slope Pee Wee, Spotted Towhee, Bush Tit, Turkey Vulture, California Quail, American Robin, Anna's Hummingbird, Mourning Dove,
Mockingbird, House Finch, Chickadee, Red-Tailed Hawk, Swallow-violet green, Scrub Jay, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse, Lesser Goldfinch.
Children enjoyed making items to take home and were helped by Kathi J., Charlene, Carroll, Debbie, Laura M., Peggy and Jan.
Our wish for pleasant weather came true! Eighty-one degrees helped make Open Gardens Day more rewarding for the 500 visitors, who came
from 18 Sonoma County cities and towns, 28 other California cities and 10 other states. Nevada, Illinois, Arizona, Virginia, Texas, Oregon,
Connecticut, Hawaii, Oklahoma and Washington were all represented.
Buckeye and other Species
Fifteen species of butterflies were seen that day: Buckeye, Anise Swallowtail, Pipevine Swallowtail, Mournful Duskywing, Western Tailed Blue,
Tiger Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, California Ringlet, Northern Cloudywing, Mylitta Crescent, Painted Lady, Grey Hairstreak, Red Admiral, Cabbage,
and Propertius Duskywing all made an appearance. Two days prior, on June 27th, Alex saw a Great Purple Hairstreak, but it didn't return for
Open Gardens Day.
Birds and Grasshoppers
Diane Hichwa and Don Mahoney, sitting at the table on the top of the hill, identified 16 birds through sight or call. Here's their list:
Anna's hummingbird, Acorn woodpecker, Pacific Slope flycatcher, Nuttall's woodpecker, California quail, Chestnut-backed chickadee, Western
wood peewee, Violet green swallow, Turkey vulture, Raven, Spotted towhee, Junco, California Towhee, Scrub Jay, Bandtailed pigeon, Wrentit,
and Crow. A man viewed avian activity in the tall, dead popular tree, and reported that a visitor with a scope spotted the woodpecker feeding
a grasshopper to the babies in the nest!
Although not spectacular due to the previously scorching hot days, wildflowers could be seen from the hilltop. Baby blue eyes, Chinese houses,
Tidy tips, Wild hollyhock, both Blue-eyed and Golden-eyed grasses, Bachelor buttons, mimulus, Ceanothus, Wild Radish, Clarkia and Poppies graced
Activities at a table near the entrance entertained children, who went home with various handmade butterfly souvenirs. At another nearby
table, Claire Hagen Dole autographed a new book – "The Butterfly Gardener's Guide." Gay Bishop Brorstrom and Kathy Goetzel
autographed their collaboration,
"A Class Trip to Miss Hallberg's Garden," as well.
With the help of many volunteers, our guests enjoyed a pleasant day. Those unable to walk down the road were transported in a golf cart
by volunteers so they could enjoy the nearby garden area and the exhibits. Hopefully,visitors learned something new about butterfly lives,
creating and protecting habitat, and the interconnectedness of all the aspects of our community.