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Today is October 4, 2022

Southern Gardening

Garden badges boast of gardening, conservation

By Dr. Gary Bachman

Garden badges boast of gardening, conservation

Gardens can be recognized as part of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, an effort that helps increase the habitat of the Monarch butterfly.

Several years ago, many businesses and organizations began offering digital badges to replace the traditional certificates that signify the successful completion of some specialized, non-accredited course or workshop. These badges are icons or symbols that offer instant recognition of the expertise of the individual.

If you’re a fan of social media like I am, then you certainly know about group badge icons. These designations easily identify roles and interests of group members, such as admin/moderator, new member, conversation starter, or expert.

But you may not know that there are badges your garden and landscape can earn, and that you can share so your friends and neighbors will know about your expertise.

These are more like certificates, but like the digital badge, they offer instant recognition to neighbors and others passing by your garden  and landscape.


The first garden badge my garden earned was Certified  Wildlife Habitat from the National Wildlife Federation.

My garden and landscape provide sources of food, water, and cover, as well as areas to raise babies. I also engage in sustainable gardening practices. Providing these resources for local wildlife is important, as natural habitats are being lost to rapid urban development. A big, 150-plus home development is currently under construction just down the street from my home garden.


For more information on becoming a Certified Wildlife Habitat, visit


My garden’s second badge involved becoming a member  of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail.

The idea for this trail was inspired by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter to help increase the habitat of the Monarch butterfly. This trail program started in Plains, Georgia, and has registered gardens all over the United States. I was privileged to have been an invited speaker at the 2022 Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Symposium.


For more information on the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, visit


I’ve recently become a member of Monarch Watch, and  I’m waiting for my newest garden badge, the Monarch  Waystation plaque.

My garden and landscape were certified as a Monarch Waystation for providing the resources necessary for the Monarch butterflies to produce successive generations and thus sustain their incredible migration across North America. This involves planting forage for the caterpillars and nectar plants to feed the butterflies. I’ve started seeds to grow seven Mississippi native milkweeds, and of course I have lots of nectar-rich flowers.


For more information on becoming a Monarch Waystation, visit


Meeting the requirements to earn these badges is not difficult.  You simply confirm that you are or will practice good gardening or conservation practices. Generally, these certifications charge a nominal fee for the badge that you can proudly display.



Gary Bachman, Ph.D., Extension/Research Professor of Horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also host of “Southern Gardening” radio and TV programs. He lives in Ocean Springs and is a Singing River Electric member.

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