Art of Aging: Couple transforms yard into butterfly garden

SOUDERTON, Pa. (WPVI) -- A local couple in their later years has transformed a beautiful garden for all to enjoy.

Butterflies are a beautiful addition to any backyard garden but the Monarch butterfly population has been declining for decades.

Dave and Audrey Harding are spending their retirement years working to save the species.

They have a butterfly house outside their own home in Souderton.

"This morning I picked some fresh flowers for them so they're all excited about that," said Audrey.

Within this protected environment, the butterflies lay their eggs, creating the next generation.

The Hardings devotion to butterflies was sparked by their granddaughter's fascination with the insects.

"it was like, grammie and pop pop come see this, wanted us to go looking for caterpillars with them so we got interested," said Dave.

And when they learned of the sharp decline of the Monarch population, they decided to do what they could.

They have shoeboxes full of colorful caterpillars munching on milkweed.

And they nurture the creatures through the entire lifecycle.

"And it's just changed our lives," added Dave.

The Hardings have turned their yard into an official Monarch habitat planted with various milkweeds and flowers.

"So there's always something going on for them when they fly onto your property," said Dave.

Human visitors are welcome too, especially children.

"I like to tell the boys and girls that what you do really matters," said Dave.

The Hardings also have an education program and take the butterflies to local schools.

"We try to encourage people to plant milkweed and nectar flowers," said Audrey.

It's their contribution to making the world a better place.

Monarchs are called the symbol of hope and the world has a lot of hopelessness," said Dave.

Audrey added, "Every time you see a butterfly emerge from the chrysalis it's just like a little miracle."

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