2014 Wildlife Garden Tours

Monarch on Meadow Blazing Star with Purple Coneflowers beyond (both are Chocolate Cakes)
Monarch on Meadow Blazing Star with Purple Coneflowers beyond (both are Chocolate Cakes, irresistible to pollinators)

This is the 23rd year I’ve been leading these tours of private backyard wildlife gardens.  And they just keep getting yummier and yummier!

Mark your calendar with the following dates & plan to join me for one, several, or all NINE of the 2014 “Tours of Private Wildlife Gardens” (pdf)  that I will again be leading for NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May.

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

We’ll be visiting 18 gardens over a 3-day period – six delightful and unique gardens each day.  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, enjoying it with a group of fellow wildlife gardeners, all while being entertained by buzzing and hungry and feisty hummingbirds, dazzling dragonflies, glittering butterflies and other pollinators!  Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it ? !

Enjoy a SNEAK PEAK (South Tour, North TourMid-County Tour) into some of the gardens we’ve visited in the past.  I’ve updated these links to include many new gardens added in recent years.

“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.

Friday, July 18: SOUTH “Cape Island”

Saturday, July 19: MID-COUNTY “North Cape May to Rio Grande”

Sunday, July 20: NORTH “Goshen to Dennisville”

Pollinators galore (Sachem and Bumble Bee) are drawn to Purple Coneflower

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.

Friday, August 15: NORTH “Goshen to Dennisville”

Saturday, August 16: SOUTH “Cape Island”

Sunday, August 17: MID-COUNTY “North Cape May to Rio Grande”

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird nectaring on Bee Balm

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.

Friday, Sept. 19: MID-COUNTY “North Cape May to Rio Grande”

Saturday, Sept. 20: NORTH “Goshen to Dennisville”

Sunday, Sept. 21: SOUTH “Cape Island”

Monarchs and a hungry Preying Mantis have come to dine  on New England Aster

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). With the downward spiral of the Monarch population, time will tell, but we hope our gardens will be hosting Monarchs and Monarch eggs, caterpillars, and maybe even a chrysalis. The complex Monarch migration will be both explained and enjoyed.  Fall gardens will be full of other butterflies and many interesting pollinators.


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.