FRED A. FUNK
Founder of The Villages Butterfly Garden Club and
the Fred Funk Butterfly Garden at Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Lady Lake, FL
On February 20, 2014, Fred Funk founded and organized The Villages Butterfly Gardens Club. The Club quickly grew and later that year an idea was born to create a community butterfly garden. The Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Lady Lake welcomed the idea to use their property and soon plans were drawn to create a half-acre butterfly garden.
The mastermind behind the Garden was Fred Funk. Fred designed the layout using his years of experience as a former nursery and farm market owner in Millersville, Pennsylvania. Often driving miles to purchase plants, Fred also propagated host and nectar plants at his home to place in the Garden. To support the financial needs of the Garden, Fred sold his propagated plants to members and Garden visitors. Club volunteers assisted Fred with digging, laying weed cloth, mulching and planting the flowers, shrubs and trees. Once the Garden was planted there was considerable work to do including watering, deadheading, and controlling weeds.
Fred worked the Garden on a daily basis. The Church offered their generous support with funds, equipment and welcoming encouragement. A volunteer group was formed to assist with Garden duties. Within a short-time butterflies found their way to the host plants to lay eggs. Raising stations were donated and purchased to protect the eggs and hatching caterpillars from predators and soon the caterpillars formed their chrysalises. Fred and the visitors to the Garden were rewarded as the butterflies emerged to sip the nectar of the flowering plants. Thirty-five species of butterflies have been identified at the Garden to date.
Fred’s vision was beyond the Club and Church’s imagination and was met with his daily devotion to the care of the Garden and the butterflies. Before his death he shared a wish and that was to create an even bigger butterfly garden in heaven.
‘Butterflies, you can’t touch them but they will touch your heart.” Fred A. Funk
In 2019 the gardens were renamed Fred Funk Butterfly Garden in his memory.