Eleanor’s Sanctuary

The Jamestown Garden Club – initiated by Mrs. Thomas Alva Edison in 1933 – was always an organization dedicated to flowers and civic duty. Following that criteria, in 1993 the club proposed the creation of a Butterfly Garden on the grounds of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.

This project would combine the club’s two interests – one to attract more butterflies drawn to the flowers and the second to increase the interest and enjoyment of the public who visit RTPI. The Butterfly Garden was installed in 1994 with the help of many local nurseries and garden centers. Eleanor Sanctuary coordinated this effort by first enlisting the aid of Virginia Marie Peterson, a well-known garden planner and butterfly expert.

Sanctuary ensured the success of the garden by following the Peterson Plan rigorously. Each plant on the Butterfly Garden Plan was dutifully installed. When the butterfly garden was completed, it was named “Eleanor’s Sanctuary” in appreciation for her dedication and significant commitment.

From that day on club members have volunteered their time and hard work to care for the garden each year. However, year after year natural change occurs in all things including the Butterfly Garden.

So, close to 20 years later, the members of the Jamestown Garden Club proposed to begin a restoration project to bring the garden back to its original design with a small nod towards perennials and a few annuals that seem to thrive in the Jamestown climate.

Members of the club’s Horticulture Committee and many other members volunteered to come out and weed, transplant, water and install missing plants, some of which the members donated from their own garden to help the restoration project. Many members contributed by becoming “Water Wizards” – volunteers who came out to give the new plants a life-sustaining drink of water. The whole club’s effort has resulted in a beautiful place for butterflies and people.

The club wished to celebrate the relationship it has had with the Roger Tory Peterson Institute over the years, so a Rededication Day at the garden took place recently.

RTPI President Twan Leenders welcomed club members and Eleanor Sanctuary’s son Dave and his wife Anita joined the group as special guests.

Mr. and Mrs. Sanctuary have generously offered to donate a “Butterfly Watering Stone” for the garden which will facilitate its becoming a Monarch Butterfly Waystation listed on a National Registry. Joyce Sechler, Butterfly Garden coordinator, closed the dedication by presenting Leenders with a special commemorative history of the Butterfly Garden know as “Eleanor’s Sanctuary.”