Hernando Beach Property Owners Association - Gulf Coast Waterfront Community
A butterfly symbolizes nature's transformation from one stage to another. Accordingly, this garden has been transformed into a thing of beauty.
The Hernando Beach Butterfly Garden was an idea that arose for a small, triangular shaped, one acre site that held a retention pond. Located in a county right-of-way at the junction of Shoal Line and Osowaw Boulevards, it held a large stone monument that said Hernando Beach, but nothing else. The Hernando Beach Property Owners Association (HBPOA) took on the project to transform this small, neglected area into a thing of beauty for the residents of and visitors to Hernando Beach. The vision was to create a beautiful, eye appealing "Welcome to Hernando Beach" neighborhood park, a lovely garden oasis. Our little Hernando Beach neighborhood park, a pollinator's garden, project has taken several years to complete. HBPOA and residents of Hernando Beach contributed thousands of dollars to pay for the permits, construction, signs, an irrigation system and much more, all with support from Hernando County officials and a Hernando County Community Grant.
In the initial phase, the design and layout of the park was done by Ron Wolf and overseen by Ron and Gordon Wolf of Blue Pelican Marina with help from community volunteers and local contractors. The original plantings of Native Florida plants throughout the park was directed by then HBPOA President Jude Simpson.
In the final phase, Joyce McLemore, a Hernando Beach resident and Pool and Landscaping contractor felt that more needed to be done to complete the community's vision for the park. The weeds were winning, they were taking over again. She drew up a plan to complete the landscaping transformation. In 2015, she, and then HBPOA President Fran Baird, applied for and received a Community Grant from Hernando County to complete the transformation of the garden park.
With hard work by community volunteers the overgrowth of weeds was removed, then new landscaping plants and trees and planting supplies were purchased with grant funds. Community teams, with the assistance of the Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department, planted the garden with the new flowering plants and trees. The county installed a water connection at the park for irrigation purposes and the landscaping committee and volunteers installed drip irrigation hoses throughout the park to water the new plants. This irrigation method was found to be inefficient. It needed turning on and off manually to irrigate the plants and directed irrigation water inefficiently. A Go Fund Me account was established and residents donated funds towards the cost of installing a professional, automatic micro/drip irrigation system, one with an automatic by-pass if it rained. Kathy Watkins took over the project maintenance from Joyce McLemore to lead the finishing of the project, including the weeding and mulching program and getting county lady inmates to assist with the weeding.
In the center of the garden, a small Bear statute pays tribute to our Florida Black Bears that have occasionally been seen crossing either Shoal Line or Osowaw Boulevards into the Weeki Wachee Nature Preserve. Our local native bears are few in number and only a few local residents have been lucky enough to see them. Strategically located in our garden are 7 Memorial benches donated by Hernando Beach residents in honor of their loved ones who have passed on, and by our Hernando Beach VFW Post honoring our military. They provide a place to sit and enjoy the beauty of the flowering trees and plants and to watch butterflies, bees and humming birds gathering nectar from the flowers. It is intended to be a quiet place of joy, peace and comfort, a place to see the beauty of nature. A lighted flag pole and US flag were donated for the Butterfly Garden Park by Hernando Beach residents Carol and Jim Garret
We sincerely thank everyone who volunteered their knowledge, skills and hard work to make this incredible neighborhood Park, our little Butterfly Garden, happen,. Most especially those who work so very hard to maintain it. We also thank our Hernando County Officials and Board of County Commissioners, most particularly commissioner Wayne Dukes of Hernando Beach, for their support of this project.