In 2001, our park naturalist began the work of converting the weed-choked brick pathways and plots of an abandoned garden behind the current visitor center into the Kittatinny Valley State Park Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden. The garden is unfenced, allowing easy access to humans and wildlife alike. Native perennials such as milkweeds, asters, and wild bergamot were selected to provide a range of food and nectar sources for the larval (caterpillar) and adult stages of our native butterflies, as well as ruby-throated hummingbirds. The organic nature of the garden – only a pellet-form pre-emergent is applied to the pathways to control the germination of weed seeds – ensures a diversity of insect and avian visitors.
Over the years, volunteers have donated their time in conducting various garden chores, such as roto-tilling, weeding and watering, as well as donating and planting flowers. The Paulinskill Valley Trail Committee graciously supplied funding to purchase garden equipment, plants, and identification tags. In addition, park maintenance staff installed decorative wooden arbors upon which trumpet honeysuckle now twines.
The Kittatinny Valley State Park Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden is situated behind the visitor center, located 1 mile north of Route 206, off Goodale Road in Andover Township, NJ. The garden is open to the public from sunrise to sunset. The visitor center is open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM every day, as staffing permits.
Designated a Rutgers Cooperative Extension Master Gardener project site in 2007, the "Gardens at Kittatinny Valley State Park" include the award-winning Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden, multi-hued iris gardens, and a “Patriot’s Garden” consisting of red, white and blue flowers. Acting as living interpretive displays, the gardens are open to the public from sunrise to sunset and provide opportunities for nature study, photography, and quiet reflection. Please consider joining us for our Annual Spring Clean-up & Orientation held in April. We will be weeding, cutting back, and mulching, so please bring gloves, buckets, and hand tools.