Thursday, April 1, 2010

Garden Muse Day: Spring Delights

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast."
~Alexander Pope

As gardeners, we know something about hope. We cover our tender perennials with mulch in late fall, hoping they will survive the winter to come. We plant trays of seedlings and set up artifical lights in hopes they will reward us with little green shoots patiently waiting for their day in the sun.

We know something about faith, too. Faith that the long, hard winter will not last, and that one day spring will indeed come. We peer into the ground looking for promising signs and are eventually rewarded when the first blooms appear.

"Once you choose hope, anything's possible."
~Christopher Reeve

Along with hope and faith, gardeners also know the meaning of patience. In a world of instant gratification, we are willing to spend time planting, knowing full well that it may be a year or two or more before we see the results. Yes, that is my first tiny hellebore bloom--and a bud--from hellebores planted last spring.

"Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul
and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all."
~Emily Dickinson

We have hope that the earth will awaken again each spring, and that the songbirds, the bees, and the butterflies will return to bring us joy. One of the symbols of rebirth in many cultures, and a very appropriate one for this Easter season, is the butterfly. Its transformation from a lowly caterpillar into a beautiful and delicate creature of flight is something that humans have marveled about for centuries.

Three Julias

I was lucky to have witnessed a small miracle of sorts on my recent trip to the Desert Botanic Garden in Phoenix, featured in my last post. The DBG has a butterfly exhibit open to the public from early March through early May.

Zebra Longwing

This was the second time I was able to visit the Butterfly Pavilion, and I made sure to allow adequate time during my visit to see it.

The exhibit is a butterfly lover's dream, as many different species flit about from flower to flower. Note the De Caan anemones again that I first saw at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show and which several of you kindly identified for me.

It was spring break in Arizona, and many children were visiting the Garden this day. The butterfly exhibit had to be a highlight of their visit, especially since many of these creatures were quite friendly and often stopped to say hello.

I found myself taking photos of complete strangers; thankfully, they didn't seem to notice as they were as entranced by the butterflies as I was.

As I entered the exhibit, the guide said to me, "Oh, you're in luck--they're just about to release the butterflies." I didn't understand what she meant until I walked in. Apparently, the Garden had just received a shipment of butterflies from a supplier in Florida. I didn't catch the details about how they are captured or how long their trip takes to Arizona, but I do know they are sent in boxes filled with wax paper-like envelopes, each containing a sleeping butterfly. Every visitor who wanted one was given a chance to take part in this little miracle. Children took special delight in releasing their very own "Sleeping Beauty."

Of course, I wanted to participate, too! The envelope was carefully torn open to reveal its precious contents. This one was a little woozy from her long journey from Florida.

Once the warm air hit its wings, it didn't take long for the butterfly to revive . . .

. . . and to be ready to take off. Seeing the butterflies come out of this dormant stage may not be as exciting as watching one emerge from its chrysalis, but it has to be the next best thing and was certainly one of the highlights of my visit to the DBG.

"Flowers and butterflies drift in color, illuminating spring."
~Author Unknown

Wishing all of you a very Happy Easter!

For other musings on this first day of April, be sure to visit Carolyn Gail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.


  1. What a wonderful treat to be there to release sleeping butterflies. I couldn't help but remember what a sweet time we all had when we were in Chicago and visited the butterfly house...Some of my favorite memories and photos are from then.

    Christopher Reeve's quote is especially poignant~~Didn't he epitomize hope and belief that anything was possible.

    Love your daff and the hellebore is perfect. Happy Spring my friend. xxoogail

  2. Rose, such a beautiful tribute! to gardeners and the wonderment of butterflies. I'm so happy to see your daffodils and hellobore blooming... must be that Spring is finally here for you. ;) We had frost upon the ground this morning (covered our vegetables last night due to freeze warnings), and now I'm looking forward to the blue skies I see.

    We hope you and your family have a blessed Easter.

  3. How exciting to see the butterflies take off! Beautiful post:)

  4. Dear Rose....What a joy for the children to release the butterfly. Hopefully many of them will connect with the world of insects, and enjoy nature.
    Lovely to see so many pretty winged friends.

    A lovely post......and the sweet hellebore is beautiful. Don't take off the bloom Rose, let it go to seed. Hopefully you will find babies next year. I have many.......

    Have a lovely Easter and enjoy your daffodils....I know you have been waiting for them Rose. I always associate W. Wordsworth poetry with you......

  5. What a beautiful uplifts post Rose. Of course I love all of these creatures with feathers, scales and of course those sweet little ones getting so close to nature always warms my heart.

  6. Oh goodness me! How wonderful to have been there when they released the butterflies. I always wondered how they shipped them. Your daffodils are so beautiful and in my opinion, symbolize spring perfectly.

  7. Happy Easter to you too :)

    Love daffodils, such cheerful flowers

    Beautiful butterflies, but they still turn my stomach !!


  8. Nothing says spring like Daffodils & Hellebores. Your big yellow Daffodils make me smile.

  9. Dear Rose ~ I see your trip was filled with many 'delights'. But you have 'the gift' of seeing this in each day. Easter blessings, dear friend. (Finished The HELP and loved it!)

  10. What a cool experience to have at the Garden! Your daffodils are the epitome of spring!

  11. Dear Rose,
    I so enjoyed seeing all the butterflies...Zebra Longwings are my all time favorite.
    We do carry hope in our hearts!
    Happy Easter. Happy April.
    (Was that a Whopping Crane? Did you take that photograph? I hope to see a Whooper one of these days!)

  12. Lovely selection for Muse Day, Rose. Thanks so much for contributing.

    Happy Easter to you.

  13. What a lucky day! I can't imagine butterflies being shipped like that and still be okay. Looks fine though. What fun!

  14. Oh Rose what a super day in the garden to see so many butterflies and the new ones being released is icing on the cake! Your spring blooms are wonderful, I really love seeing new blooms every morning-- who broke dormancy over night? Being in the garden is super this time of year.

  15. Such delightful creatures...can you believe my oldest daughter is scared of butterflies and moths? I love your photos! And your quotes are great too.

  16. Wonderful photos! Loved seeing these amazing butterflies.

    I learned something new from reading your post. I thought they raised the butterflies on site in these pavalions/gardens. I did not realize they just bought them from another supplier.

  17. Loved your flora and fauna. So different to ours!

    Happy Easter.

    Nuts in May

  18. It's really exciting to see the first bud in your plant.
    How exciting to release those sleeping beauties! You're lucky, Rose and thank you for the exquisite photos of the butterflies.

  19. I love butterfly houses. We've visited two. You did such a great job showing these beauties off to their best advantage.~~Dee

  20. rose...oh my heart is soaring. what a wonderul thing to be around so many butterflies. i love visition conservatories. so happy you were able to participate in the releasing of the new butterflies. that must have been exciting.
    hope make the heart cheerful even in the face of devastation.
    i am so glad we have all reached spring and are enjoying the benefits from it.

    i want to wish your family and you a very blessed easter.

  21. The butterfly release sounds very cool. At our butterfly center here in Houston, I've had a hard time tearing myself away from the area where the chrysalids are hatching. They do a great job of timing it so there are always some emerging.

  22. What beautiful butterflies and what fortunate timing to be there as more were released!

    Hope is a perfect muse subject for spring.

  23. A stunning photo of beautiful flowers. Thanks so much for posting these incredible delights of nature.

  24. What fab photos! I can't think of a better way to celebrate spring than to savor the happiness of Daffodils AND feel a butterfly resting on your hand.

    Happy Easter!

  25. I've always been very aware how gardening has taught me patience, but I never really thought of it in terms of hope and faith, but of course you are right about that. Love the butterfly photos, too. What a neat idea to have kids release them just at the end of their transformation. Happy Easter!

  26. thank you for the wonderful quotes on your site!

  27. Such a spectacular post--butterfly houses are a delight.
    I loved Christopher Reeve. I still miss him, but he lives on forever in his movies and in his huge heart.
    Happy Easter/spring, Rose.

  28. What a beautiful and happy post! I love your daffys! Sounds like you had an awesome trip. I would have taken photos of strangers too. LOL! Those butterflies must have been really exotic to watch. I always wondered what they meant by releasing butterflies. We have something similar here in Montreal, (the insectarium) but I haven't been to visit yet.
    Happy Easter, Rose!

  29. Thanks to all for your comments; if you have never visited a butterfly pavilion before, I highly recommend it. It's truly an amazing sight.

    I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend--the sun is shining--for now--and the garden beckons.

  30. How amazing to be able to transport butterflies like that! And to release one! What a beautiful place.

  31. What a wonderful posting and with all of those beautiful butterflies.Children are fascinated with them whether they like them or kind of back away unsure of them. Beautiful pictures Rose!

  32. Rose, I love your quotes-perfect for your post! I do think gardeners are just as you say-ever hopeful and oh so patient. Well most of us anyway. :)

    Can't wait to see most photos of your trip. These were a good start, but I do want to see them all.

    Your blooms are gorgeous. That hellebore is glorious. Makes the winter almost worth it.

  33. How awesome to be able to participate in releasing the butterflies. They are so beautiful - like flying flowers.

    I'm sorry I missed the butterflies at Lincoln Park. Might have to go back there this summer with the grandchildren!

    Hope you had a wonderful Easter Rose!

  34. This post was perfect in so many different ways and I didn't want it to end.

    This will be the spring that I plant my first hellebore. It seems I am the only gardener in the world without one.

    Luv the thought of all those people releasing sleeping butterflies from the envelopes. Hopefully that makes a big impression on the children and they will all plant butterfly gardens when they're grown up.

    I've been on a short blogging break, but I'm glad I didn't miss this post.


  35. Rose - a beautiful post. How lucky you were to arrive at the butterfly house at that moment. It sounds magical.

  36. This post is wonderful, Rose! You did a beautiful job of conveying the fresh, hopeful excitement of spring. It really is the one season we need to see through a child's eyes to remember how wonderful life is. I guess those butterflies must have come from South Florida. I haven't seen too many here yet.

  37. Lovely images and thoughts, Rose...we've been in a couple of butterfly exhibits but not heard of the visitors getting to be part of a butterfly release. What luck that you were there at just the right time!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


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