July: Luna Moths

July was indeed a month for Luna Moths, with lots of folks in Charlotte and environs raising caterpillars at home. Kids gave them names like Melody, Moonpie, Creeper, Zombie and Steve. Fun. The caterpillars came to us courtesy of Mia and Ana, two of the lady Lunas who grew up in Shamrock classrooms during the…

June: Eastern Black Swallowtails

We started our Shamrock butterfly program by raising Eastern Black Swallowtails. Butterfly eggs can be hard to spot. But Eastern Blacks lay round, bright yellow eggs that stand out clearly. Plant parsley, fennel or another host plant in your yard or in a pot, and you’ll probably get some. Young Eastern Black caterpillars are black…

May: Skippers

As summer arrives, small, active Skipper butterflies descend on gardens across Charlotte. Their thick bodies, big eyes and narrow wings make them look like moths. But they have the club-shaped antennae that mark a butterfly. They get their name from their habit of “skipping” from flower to flower. About 70 different species of Skippers live…

Monarchs are coming!

As we hunker down at home, Monarch butterflies are on the move. Millions of Monarchs spent the winter in the mountains of Mexico, clustered together in the region’s oyamel firs. A smaller group rested in eucalyptus trees along the California coast. Early in March, as the days lengthened and the temperatures warmed, the butterflies began…

Home Butterfly Studies

School may be out for now, but butterflies are starting to emerge. It’s a good time to start looking for butterflies, caterpillars and eggs. Check out our Home Butterfly Studies page for resources and suggestions. Keep your eyes open!

March: Spicebush Swallowtails

The first-graders stare upward, eyes big, foreheads furrowed with disbelief. Above them, a lime-green caterpillar grasps a twig with rosy feet. Sky-blue spots adorn its sides, and its yellow eyes sport huge, dark pupils. It looks like it’s crawled out of a TV cartoon or flown in from some far-off planet. It’s a Spicebush Swallowtail…

February: Sulphurs

Several kinds of Sulphurs visit us at Shamrock. The easiest to identify are the bright lemon-yellow Cloudless Sulphurs. Cloudless Sulphurs and Tiger Swallowtails are the only North Carolina butterflies that can be reliably identified from a distance – even when driving down a highway. We see a lot of Sleepy Orange Sulphurs at Shamrock as…

January: If you plant it, they will come!

Planning a butterfly garden Winter is a great time for garden planning. Butterfly gardens combine nectar plants and host plants. Nectar plants Flowering nectar plants feed butterflies and many other pollinators. Your garden will be liveliest if you plant a variety of nectar plants that flower in abundance at different times of the year. We…

2020 Butterfly Calendars to be distributed soon

After 10 years of raising butterflies here at Shamrock Gardens, the PTA is celebrating by issuing a 2020 calendar. It tells the story of our butterfly program and describes many of Charlotte’s best-known butterflies. Orders are now closed for the year. Thank you to all who ordered calendars.