The thriving butterfly garden seen in the cul-de-sac of the 1000 block of Richelieu was once no different than any other ordinary round public median. It was through the initiative and efforts of SPP Garden Club member, Alice Bongers, in 2010 that the garden was constructed in honor of Jo Ann Payne.
Jo Ann Payne was one of the founding members of the SPP Garden Club, and its first president from 1975-1977. She lived on Richelieu and was Alice Bongers neighbor. She persistently encouraged and finally succeeded in getting Alice to join the garden club in 2005. Jo Ann passed away in 2009 at the age of 85. Alice Bongers, the president of Garden Club at the time, proposed that the SPP Garden Club build and dedicate a butterfly garden in her honor in the cul-de-sac of Richelieu.
The garden was carefully planned and designed with many nectar-rich flowering plants, butterfly host plants, a fruit tree, and a butterfly bench in the center because Jo Ann had loved butterflies. It was funded by contributions from Jo Ann’s friends, neighbors, family, and the SPP Garden Club.
Sadly, about a year later, a reckless driver speeding down Richelieu crashed through the garden destroying the butterfly bench and tree. Alice Bongers replaced both the bench and tree. The bench remains today, but the second tree she planted has since died. Very recently, a new Chinese fringe tree has been planted behind the bench.
The butterfly garden has always been maintained by the residents of Richelieu, and is still tended by Serena Kramer and Megan Gray today. It is currently planted with crinum lilies, amaryllis, tropical milkweed, black and blue salvia, Salvia leucantha (Mexican bush sage), blue plumbago, orange cosmos, lemon glow lantana, firebush, purple heart, pink roses, and is being utilized by pollinators of all kinds.
Photo from the 2010 SPP Garden Club archives. Click to enlarge.