Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Who doesn't love a butterfly?

I feel so fortunate to live in an area so abundant with wildlife yet somehow I see too few Butterflies. They occasionally grace my garden, but fleetingly. I think I tend to see far more shadows of butterflies, than butterflies, as I take a walk on a summer's day.

What is so precious about the butterfly that inspires so many people in so many ways? Is it their beauty? Birds are beautiful, but you don't hear people gasp and point at them like they do with butterflies. Is it that they are so delicate? Lots of bugs are. Crane Flies, Walking Sticks, Moths...but those don't send us breathless and transfixed.

Perhaps it is their rarity. I do feel like a wealthy woman when I see the same butterflies come to my garden and cool themselves in the shower of my sprinkler a few days a week. Were they common and easily found I don't think I would find them any less magical. A window screen covered in blue and green houseflies could never compete with a houseful of butterflies.

I have decided that I will put a butterfly garden beside my fenceline in the backyard. It is sunny there, not too breezy and because our neighbors driveway is next to it, I couldn't safely grow vegetables there. I will plant Joe Pye Weed against the fence, to create its own sort of fence and from there I foresee an abundant mix of goldenrod, vetch, everlastings, daisies, plantain, milkweed, dill, grape hyacinth, marigold, clover, mustard, violet, black-eyed susans, asters, zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos, phlox, marigolds and boneset. I will put a terracotta pot in the center, equally filled with sand and water, for the butterflies to drink from.

As long as it is all grown tightly together, and well watered, it should be a stunning place to enjoy watching the butterflies and bumblebees. Across from that fence is our largest tree, where I am currently trying to get a lawn to grow. I can imagine next Spring, with the lovely grass, me sitting lazily upon a willow bench covered in cushions and enjoying a refreshing mint tea while watching the beautiful bugs do what they do best. Ahhhh.

If you would like to learn more about butterflies in your area, and even identify them, then please take a look at these great resources:


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