Butterfly & Chocolate Gardens

The Butterfly Garden

At Swan Lake’s Butterfly Garden, Master Gardeners support not only our beloved monarchs but many other butterflies as well. With the Friends of Swan Lake's support, we are adding new features to the Butterfly Garden to expand the knowledge of all visitors so that they can be part of the solution to saving butterflies by adding specific plants to their own gardens.  

We are adding a new sign which will show six different butterflies with their caterpillars so that visitors can identify them in our garden.  Included is some brief information on each butterfly that names the host plant (the specific plant that the butterfly will lay her eggs on and that the caterpillar can eat), as well as the types of nectar-producing plants that the adult butterfly prefers. The sign also shows a butterfly life cycle with pictures of the four stages of butterfly life from egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to exquisite soaring adult. In addition, we are placing identification signs in front of our host plants which specify which baby caterpillar it supports.  The caterpillar hunt should be fascinating for all.  No touching, please. Although some of these caterpillars are quite spiny-looking, they do not sting.  However, they won’t survive hands-on affection.

We hope all of you will tour our Butterfly Garden, experience the endless fascination of the unique beauty of butterflies and become part of our efforts to save them. The Sumter Master Gardeners offer many butterfly plants at their Iris Festival booth each May. Come share in the wonderful world of butterflies! 

The Chocolate Garden

The Chocolate Garden, established in 2009, is a whimsical addition to Swan Lake. It contains edible plants such as Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes, Chocolate Corn and Chocolate Mini Bell Peppers which all have a chocolate look to them but maintains their vegetable flavors (please do not sample these).

The Chocolate Garden also contains flowers that smell "chocolaty," such as the Chocolate Daisy, Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Cosmos.  There are flowers with chocolate-colored leaves, or stems, or centers of flowers, as well as chocolate-looking grasses and a chocolate Mimosa tree.

To give the Garden a splash of color, we have interwoven various "white chocolate," strawberry and banana-colored selections for a real "Banana Split" effect.  A cypress-covered path weaves around the plants, and an arbor full of Chocolate Vine is the perfect place to pose for a memorable photo.