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Unique Whitefish Bay front yard invites butterflies to flutter by

Posted at 8:49 AM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 23:31:32-04

WHITEFISH BAY – While most of us have stressed about our lawns and the lack of rain this summer, Kristina Paris has just sat back and watched her garden grow.

"Oh, this is my little tiny garden. I've gotten rid of all the grass in front and created a pollinator garden," Paris said.

Paris has turned the front yard of her Whitefish Bay home into a pollinator garden designed to attract and feed one specific critter -- the monarch butterfly.

"It's an incredible creature. It goes from this tiny little pin-sized egg and within a month it turns into a monarch butterfly," she said, enthusiastically explaining why her yard looks so different than the others on her block.

Instead of grass and shrubs, Paris planted milkweed. That's the only thing caterpillars eat.

She also added pollinator plants, giving grown-up monarchs a butterfly buffet.

"I thought 'why not?'" she said. "Why not create a nice little place for them to eat and the benefit is there are other creatures that come here too."

Inside her home, there's more.

A room just off her kitchen is a caterpillar nursery.

Paris brings the tiny eggs inside for protection and watches them grow under glass and plastic domes.

She will release them outside when the caterpillars begin their transformation into butterflies.

But it all starts in front of her house -- with a kind of monarch waystation.

In a few weeks, the butterflies will start feeding here, getting fat before a 2,000-mile flight to Mexico for the winter.

"So they need a waystation to really bulk up on the pollinator plants, so this is here," she said.

While it looks nothing like your typical front yard, Kristina Paris is happy to host a pit stop for these insects with stained glass wings.

If you'd like information about turning a portion of your yard into a "monarch waystation" visit Monarch Watch here or Friends of the Monarch Trail here.

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