Friday, April 10, 2009

Butterfly Delights

Why is it that when you return from a vacation, you feel as though you need another vacation? I've managed to unpack and put away the suitcases and do the laundry, but that is about all I've accomplished since coming home Tuesday night. I did download all 400-plus photos from our trip to Arizona, but with a busy weekend ahead, it will be awhile before I have time to edit and organize them all. But I did want to share one small part of our trip with you now.

Once again, I made my usual solitary pilgrimage to the Desert Botanical Gardens while in Phoenix. Each time I've visited the Gardens, I have seen something new, and this time was no exception. The Chihuly Exhibit was still showing, but this time the stunning works of glass were often surrounded by blooms rather than a sea of green cacti, succulents, and other natives. If you would like to see more of the Chihuly exhibit, you can read this post from my December trip. And the blooming perennials and cacti will have to wait until another time . . .

This time I wanted to make sure to visit an exhibit that wasn't open last December--the Marshall Butterfly Pavilion.

It isn't easy to capture a butterfly in photos, but even more difficult to show in a single photograph the experience of being surrounded by hundreds of butterflies. I tried several videos, and this was the best of the lot. But be forewarned that you might get a little dizzy at one point--the camerawoman was too excited to move slowly.

This delicate orange beauty is a Julia, Dryas iulia. I know this only because we were given a small guide for identifying the butterflies. The guide showed 16 different species, but a note on the back said that not all would be on exhibit at all times. I was disappointed in being able to see only four different species, but some may have been hiding from me. And the sheer number of these winged creatures flying was so entrancing that it hardly mattered how many different ones there were.

I think this is a Spicebush Swallowtail, although it might be a Pipevine Swallowtail. The Pipevine in the guide showed blue tones in the lower wings but not the orange dots seen here. I may have seen both varieties flitting about, but all my photos seem to resemble the Spicebush more.

I had no difficulty, though, in identifying this Zebra Longwing. What a striking butterfly! I've never seen anything like this in my garden at home.

This Southern White may not be as striking, but my photos also didn't do it justice in capturing its translucent beauty.

In several places in the small pavilion, butterfly feeding stations were set up. I learned last year that you should place shallow containers of water filled with small stones for a resting place for the butterflies throughout the garden. But I didn't know that butterflies also enjoyed orange slices. The Julias were especially attracted to them; if you look closely, you can see at least five of them in this photo.

Although they enjoyed the citrus and the water, the flowers, of course, were the
main attraction for them.

If there were any labels posted near the different flowers, I didn't notice them. I was too busy trying to focus my camera.

This year I am planning a small new garden area with the intention of planting primarily plants that will attract butterflies as well as hummingbirds and bees. I already have zinnia seeds and will hopefully have many new coneflower seedlings as well to plant here, both of which were butterfly magnets last year. But I also plan to add butterfly weed, parsley, agastache, nasturtiums, and cosmos, just to name a few.

I could have spent all my time at the Gardens in this one spot, but I didn't want to be selfish. The number of people allowed into the exhibit at one time was limited, and you could pass into the area only after someone else left. We were cautioned not to touch the butterflies, even if they landed on one of us. And before leaving through the heavy plastic slats that led into an outer room toward the exit, we had to stop for inspection by a guide to ensure that there were no winged hitchikers leaving with us.

While I marvelled at all the beauties around me and jostled to get into position for just the right camera shots, others took a simple delight in just watching these creatures fly about. Watching a butterfly for me is like being a child again--finding joy in the every day beauty of nature.

The butterfly has delighted man for ages, and it has become a symbol of rebirth and resurrection, a perfect image for this Easter weekend. I wish all of you . . .

A Happy and Blessed Easter!


  1. Beautiful photos Rose. I can't wait to see more. Happy Easter to you and yours.

  2. How beautiful! And welcome back! You did a good job capturing all the beautiful butterflies on the video.

  3. I loved this garden the first time you blogged about it! So lovely to see it again, though I couldn't have acctually stood being with all those fluttering buterflies around me, I have a bit of a phobia about fluttery things!

    Can't wait to see more of your holiday snaps!

    S x

  4. Hi Rose,
    I love, love butterflies and what a great job you did capturing them! I'm looking forward to the rest of your photos too. Welcome home and a Happy Easter to you, too!

  5. It's been about 19 years since I've been there; at the time I don't think I took the time to look around and really appreciate it. Of course that could have been due to the company I had at the time! Cousin Steve, who is a year younger than me, was unemployed at the time. He was forced, I mean graciously offered, to take me.

    Your butterfly photos are beautiful!

  6. Wowie Rose! What awesome pics!! Thank you for posting them. I absolutely love your butterfly shots. And yes, how appropriate for Easter weekend.
    Waiting to see the rest! I am glad you are home safe and sound and I totally understand about needing a vacation after a vacation. Just flying in an airplane makes me tired.

  7. Rose ! I may have to start calling yo the "Butterfly-girl" ! haha
    Those were great pictures .. and I am amazed that they enjoy citrus fruit like that ! I had no idea !
    We don't see enough butterflies in my garden .. I would dearly love to have them and frogs .. we heard a little chorus in the worst place possible near the road side to busy construction .. I just wanted to scoop them all up and take them home with me ; )
    Have a rest girl .. you NEED it !!

  8. Your new butterfly garden sounds like it will be great. Thanks for the tip about shallow dishes of stones & water for the butterflies - I think I'll try that this summer.

  9. I think you got amazing photos, Rose!

    And have a wonderful Easter, too!

  10. Rose, it's so nice to the DBG in bloom, too, and the butterflies are gorgeous, too. I can see how you need time off from that trip! :) Happy Easter!

  11. Rose, Thank you for the tour and the delightful photos! I am ready to see butterflies again and just got my zinnia seeds out to think about sowing....It will be fun to see your garden grow and the visitors you will have...I am going to leave a shallow bit of water and rocks for the butterflies, thanks for the great idea.
    Welcome home...Happy Easter to you and your family.

  12. Rose, glad you're home safe and sound. Your butterfly video just now drew my daughter to my side to look at your post with me. She's usually so busy (or claims to be!) that she doesn't take time to even read my stuff! She thinks your blog is lovely, and so do I. Happy Easter!

  13. Whoa! I've never seen such beautiful b'flies before. Butterflies to gardens mean those gardens are healthy and the gardener is caring. [thumbs up]

  14. Wonderful, rose!

    Hope your weekend is relaxing!

  15. Dear Rosse....I was lost for a short moment in time looking at the beautiful butterflies.......they are so pretty...

    I am so pleased that you are going to have a bee, butterfly and hummingbird area....please do not forget Verbena Bonariensis, bees and butterflies love this bloom and will stay on a flower for ages.....

    This is a delightful post.......tku for making a woman in Kent very happy......

  16. Rose, these butterflies are beautiful! Thanks for sharing them with us. I love the Julia and the Zebra-very stunning. A butterfly garden sounds like such fun. Don't forget the oranges. :)

  17. Rose these photos of the butterflies are simply a delight to see! I visited last year but have not gone this year. The DBG is by far my favorite place to visit here in Phoenix!! I am sorry that we did not meet up. I have emailed you.Hope you recieve this one!
    Happy Easter hugs anna

  18. Lisa, I have lots more photos!

    Tina, I just wanted to give some idea of how many butterflies there were.

    Suburbia, The Botanical Gardens has something new to see every time I go, it seems. I don't mind "fluttering" things around me, although if this had been a bat house, that would have been a different story:)

    Flydragon, It's good to be home for Easter and in time for spring gardening.

    Laura, Notice I went by myself:) Last December was my second trip there, and I was surprised how much I'd missed the first time.

  19. Wendy, I've never been to a butterfly exhibit before, so this was amazing. I came home to lots of activities, including babysitting the grandkids quite a bit, so I'm looking forward to a REST this week!

    Joy, I've been called worse things:) By the way, Sophie is fine and back to her ornery self. Tell the girls she does have her front fingernails, and even got a pedicure!

    MMD, Even though I knew about the containers, I never got around to it last year. I'll be sure to set some out this year.

    Joyce, Hope you're feeling more yourself by now and can participate in all the Easter activities.

    Monica, It was great to see some blooms in the desert this time.

    Gail, Although I had quite a few butterflies last year, I'm hoping for more this year, especially those elusive monarchs.

    W2W, Thank you, and I'm glad you and your daughter enjoyed the video--I don't think I could get a job in the film industry, though:)

    Keewee, Thanks for stopping by!

    Chandramouli, Thanks! I loved this place. I need to catch up with you as soon as this weekend is over.

    Liz, The weekend has been a little hectic, too, but today I'll have some time for family and any leftover chocolate eggs:)

  20. Cheryl, You would love this exhibit! And thanks for the reminder about the verbena bono--it's in the plans for the butterfly garden, but I had forgotten it was a butterfly attraction.

    Beckie, This year I need to remember to set out the containers! The Julia was my favorite, too, and the most eager to pose for me.

    Anna, Sorry we missed each other, too, but it's hard to pack everything into one week. Hope you are home safe and sound by now, and that your daughter is doing okay.

  21. Love the butterflies Rose. I have been in a butterfly house at Callaway Gardens in GA. It was so much fun but very, very humid. Happy Easter!

  22. So many beautiful butterflies Rose! I love the Chihuly glass. His work is so beautiful.

    Welcome back home - I know what you mean about needing a vacation after your vacation.

    Happy Easter!

  23. Susie, This was my first time in a butterfly house, so I was very excited. Fortunately, it wasn't humid because the temperatures that day were soaring up to 90.

    Linda, I didn't take as many photos of the Chihuly works this time, since I took so many last December. But it was interesting to see them surrounded by blooms this time--gave them a little different perspective. I'm hoping this week is a little slower and that I finally catch up on all that needs to be done around here!

  24. how wonderful for you to get to spend time with so many butterflies. vacations are great but so much work. just take it one day at a time. so

  25. Rose, I wonder if we might have passed each other at the Desert Museum? It was a wonderful place to visit!! I'm so happy you included the butterfly photos in your post. Both the battery in use and my backup battery for my camera had "died" by the time I was mid-way through the butterfly exhibit! Does that mean I need three rechargeable batteries?? ha!

  26. Loved seeing the butterflies! Didn't know they enjoyed oranges. Bananas I knew. Maybe putting some oranges out will either attract orioles or butterflies. I'd love either one.

  27. What a wonderful exhibit. I didn't know that butterflies enjoyed orange slices either. Learn something new all the time thanks to blogging. Hope you had a Happy Easter with your family.

  28. Rose, sounds like a great vacation, but I'm sure you are glad to be back home. W2W and I have visited a couple of butterfly parks, but never have seen so many as these.

  29. Marmee, We enjoyed ourselves so much, especially spending time with our Daughter. But I'm just now catching up on everything here at home.

    Shady Gardener, That would have been pretty funny if we'd been there at the same time and didn't know it:) How disappointing to have your batteries die! I was lucky for once--mine died as soon as I got home:)

    Marnie, This was new to me, too. You're right--if the butterflies don't like the oranges, I'm sure the birds will.

    Racquel, I agree; I'm always learning something new here.

    SAM, Nice to finally meet you! This was my first trip to a butterfly exhibit, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I hope to find another one closer to home.

  30. A beautiful parade of butterflies, Rose ... great photos. It must seem like a dream now that you are back home and into the 'real' world!

  31. Joey, Yes, it does. Although it wasn't such a jolt coming home as back in December when I left sunny skies and the warmth of Arizona to return to snow and frigid Illinois:)


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