2013 Wildlife Garden Tours

001 - Monarchs w-sigThis is the 22nd year I’ve been leading these tours of private backyard wildlife gardens.  And they just keep getting yummier and yummier!

Be sure to mark your calendar with the following dates & plan to join me on one, several, or all NINE of the 2013 “Tours of Private Wildlife Gardens” (pdf) that I will again be leading for NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May.

NEW in 2013

The tours will be held mid-week (Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday)
to avoid weekend seashore resort traffic!

Alert your friends, family, neighbors, … anyone you’re trying to HOOK on wildlife gardening!

These wildlife-friendly gardens offer so many ideas in the way of design, use of space, plant combinations, native plants that are lovely AND beneficial to wildlife, “chocolate cake” nectar plants, key caterpillar plants, great native shrub ideas, “how to” create your own meadow ideas, garden accents and features like misters, dragonfly ponds, arbors . . .

Imagine getting a glimpse into private backyard wildlife gardens, interacting with the artists who created them, having each and every garden and wildlife question answered, and enjoying it with a group of fellow wildlife gardeners.

Enjoy a SNEAK PEAK (South Tour, North TourMid-County Tour) into some of the gardens we’ve visited in the past.

“Tours of Private Wildlife Gardens” (pdf)

with NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May

1600 Delaware Ave., Cape May, NJ 08204



Tours of Private BUTTERFLY Gardens — 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 16: NORTH “Goshen to Dennisville”

Wednesday, July 17: MID-COUNTY “North Cape May to Rio Grande”

Thursday, July 18: SOUTH “Cape Island”

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Tiger Swallowtails (male on left, female on right) on Joe-pye-weed, a native perennial that is a Chocolate Cake to butterflies

More butterfly and hummingbird gardens are tucked into Cape May County than probably anywhere else in the country. Mid-July is the time of peak butterfly diversity and numbers. Gardens look completely different from one month to the next (so seriously consider all 9 tours). Learn the magic combination of native nectar plants and caterpillar plants that makes a garden especially attractive to butterflies. Design ideas and new wildlife plants will be showcased while tour participants are entertained by a blizzard of butterflies and hummingbirds.

Tours of Private HUMMINGBIRD Gardens — 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, August 20: SOUTH “Cape Island

Wednesday, August 21: NORTH “Goshen to Dennisville”

Thursday, August 22: MID-COUNTY “North Cape May to Rio Grande”

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird (one of dozens) in Sutton’s garden

At the peak of Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration, we’ll savor an array of diverse gardens that have hosted nesting hummingbirds since May and are now drawing in dozens of migrants. Native nectar plants, healthy insect populations, water sources, and adequate cover are key elements of each garden.

Tours of Private MONARCH (butterfly) Gardens — 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 24: MID-COUNTY “North Cape May to Rio Grande”

Wednesday, Sept. 25: SOUTH “Cape Island”

Thursday, Sept. 26: NORTH “Goshen to Dennisville”

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Migrating Monarchs nectaring on Seaside Goldenrod, a native perennial that many pollinators are drawn to.

At the peak of Cape May County’s world-famous fall Monarch migration, tour diverse gardens that have hosted Monarchs since May. Each features native nectar plants and as many as five different kinds of milkweed (used by Monarchs for egg laying to create the next generation). Expect clouds of Monarchs and other butterflies, Monarch eggs, caterpillars, and maybe even a chrysalis. The complex Monarch migration will be both explained and enjoyed.


Gardening naturalist and author, Pat Sutton, leads these tours, which include her own garden in Goshen (North tour). Bring lunch since the group will eat in one of the gardens.

If some of you are keen to create a butterfly & hummingbird garden, be sure to download the article & plant list I wrote / created:

Limit: 25 per tour.
Nine Tours / Cost per tour: $35 members (NJ Audubon), $45 nonmembers.
(Join three tours at a discounted rate of $90 members, $115 nonmembers.)
These tours require preregistration with payment.

Registration: you may register by phone at 609.898.8848 with a credit card or send payment to the Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (noting which tours and full names, addresses, and phone numbers of registrants).

NCCM reserves the right to cancel programs, and refunds are available only if NCCM cancels the event. Walk-ins are welcome on a space-available basis. Become a member of NJAS and receive discounts in the gift shop and on many programs.