Selvi Viswanathan enjoys her award-winning butterfly garden. Photo by Hari Viswanathan
The Southwestern Orangetip is one of the many butterflies that can be seen feeding in the Viswanathan garden. Photo by Selvi Viswanathan
Selvi Viswanathan, long-time Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) board member and active Los Alamos Garden Club member, was recently honored with a first-place award from the New Mexico Garden Clubs, Inc.
She received the “Butterfly Gardening across America Award.”
To earn her certificate and a monetary award, Viswanathan’s application included photos and a list of the plants she had used to attract the butterflies.
Viswanathan had assisted Dorothy Hoard in creating the butterfly garden at PEEC, complete with nectar plants, host plants, and areas for basking, puddling, roosting, and patrolling – attractions that create a good butterfly habitat.
Garden Club member Sally Warner helped in the electronic submission of the application with photos by Mary Carol Williams and Hari Viswanathan; Doris Jackson accepted the award on Selvi’s behalf at the annual New Mexico Garden Club convention.
The judge of the applications said she was blown away by the application, especially the photos of a caterpillar on a plant and of butterflies feeding.
Both PEEC and Garden Club members are well aware of Viswanathan’s work to create an environmentally welcoming wildlife habitat (as certified by the National Wildlife Federation.)
She has helped organize tours of gardens that are bird-friendly, wildlife-friendly, and xeric. Many people have enjoyed seeing photos of foxes, bobcats, and other creatures in her yard; one favorite shows a bear bathing in a rather small pond that is clearly labeled “Warbler Pond.”