The Perfect Spot

Posted by & filed under Natural Areas, Perennials.

Shiny coneflowerShiny coneflower

I have spent the last couple of months hiding in the perfect spot.  When things are going so well, you don’t want to jinx it so I’ve kept my mouth shut and not written a blog.  Besides, when I am in paradise, writing is the last thing on my mind. Of course of all good things come to an end and now I can tell you about some of my experiences. 

As you know, I’m flora non grata with most gardening staff here, so I have to keep on the move.  Well, in late May I headed to the Bristow Butterfly Garden and found the best hiding place near the back – in the giant butterfly maze.  The maze is made by keeping some meadow areas mowed while allowing other parts to grow tall, creating a giant labyrinth of paths in the shape of butterfly wings.  Apparently the grasses and “weeds” forming the wall of the maze provide food for some of the butterflies the staff wants to attract. They’re not wanted in the more formal, manicured “butterfly garden” so the maze/meadow is a good and fun compromise.  Obviously this was the place for me.   

From the maze, I was able to watch as the butterfly garden blossomed in the summer sun just like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.  Over the last couple of months, the plantings have grown from small or dormant plants to robust, billowing plantings full of flowers.  From the low carpet of lantana to the towering shiny coneflower and Joe-pye weed, there is a wonderful buffet of plants for butterflies. A bright palette of colors, from sunny yellow to rich purples, beckons the fluttering feasters. Just as the garden has filled in, more and more butterflies are fluttering about as the season progresses.  August is the month when you will see most of them.      

Bristow Butterfly Garden arborThis year, in addition to the glorious flowers and butterflies in the garden, the staff has added a “butterfly house.”  I was a little nervous as they were building it because so many people were buzzing around the maze and I was sure some gardener would come my way, pulling weeds.  Instead they focused on building the 100 foot long screened structure and then filling it with plants and butterflies.  The result has been a steady flow of people streaming through the house and getting to see so many butterflies up close.  Even over in the maze, I could hear the excited voices of children and adults alike as they enjoyed the interaction with those winged beauties.  

As I said, all things come to an end.  For my time in the maze it happened when some of the grasses and the milkweed grew too tall.  I love my sun and for them to tower over me and hog all that light became just too much.  It is bad enough that gardeners bully and torture me, but now the brethren of my own kingdom of plants are picking on me.  Time to move on.  Just call me hobo Dandy.  See you down the garden path.

Butterfly Garden and butterfly house

One Response to “The Perfect Spot”

  1. Roy

    This is a great idea. I’m going to have check this place out.