One man’s passion for native Louisiana plants and butterflies has led to the creation of Allen Acres, a bed and breakfast with a focus on nature. Dr Charles Allen has learned that by planting the right flowers, his yard fills with hundreds of butterflies and moths.
“I call it growing butterflies from scratch,” explains Allen, a retired university botanist. “Go out and plant plants that will grow caterpillars, and then the caterpillars turn into the chrysalis and eventually into butterflies.” And Allen’s 26-acre home in the small central Louisiana community of Pitkin is living proof of that theory. He takes me around his large backyard garden that seems overgrown with wildflowers of every imaginable color. He points out caterpillars of different types, chewing on the leaves of different native Louisiana plants. And then we spot numerous butterflies, different colors and species, that thrive in the gardens of Allen Acres.
counting moths at allen acres
As a retired botanist, Allen has recorded every type of moth that he has observed in his sprawling garden. His first goal was to identify 300 species. He has far exceeded that goal with a moth count that now stands at 640 species. That exceeds the number of people living in Pitkin, population 576. He has a white sheet mounted under a light in his backyard that he uses to attract moths at night. I was surprised to learn that the lifespan of most of the butterflies and moths in only two weeks.
allen acres features native louisiana plants
As you might expect, Allen also keeps up with the number of varieties of plants that are growing at Allen Acres. The current plant count stands at 450 species. “There are many butterflies, many moths, many other insects and other animals that can only eat a particular native plant,” Allen tells me. Without those plants, the insects and animals wouldn’t be here.
spend the night in a natural garden
Allen believes in spending lots of time in his natural Louisiana setting. The property features a bed and breakfast cabin that is surrounded by wildflowers and butterflies. “I just love being outside and love to work with plants,” Allen says. He adds, “and I love to teach people how to identify plants.”
allen acres featured on tv
surrounded by blooming wildflowers
Allen Acres Bed and Breakfast is located at 5070 Hwy 399, Pitkin, Louisiana. Phone (337) 328-2252 or (337) 378-9151