A Butterfly Story
There was a time when I lived in a very magical place atop a hill in a rolling green sea and there were orange daylilies growing wild and the wind was always fragrant. In the Spring, the smell of new wet earth and young plants emerging from the melted fields of snow, cascaded through the windows of my dreams. Pinto ponies trotted curiously up to greet us. Daughter and I saw a triple rainbow after a shower. Later, when the wind picked up, and lightning crashed, I could see for miles, as anyone who has ever lived on a hilltop or mountaintop knows.
I remember Lilacs~ their purple whispered fragrance
~Daughter who flowers in a sea of flowers ~Puppies and kittens and a wildflower garden ~Sunlight and dewdrops mirroring the universe
One experience is forever crystallized in my memory above all others, and the experience gave that place its name. I will tell you now.
It was in the autumn, and in the land of four seasons, that is a time of vivid color. The sugar maples were a brilliant gold. Scarlet leaves and deep rose, purple, all shades of brown and pale yellow, all the warm colors you can imagine. One afternoon, as I was sewing, out the window, I noticed the leaves were shimmering magically in the wind, iridescent. Daughter and I ran outside to see what this spell was, and we saw something so beautiful, it will be forever in my memory~a painting of life~the tree was full of monarch butterflies. They were resting on their yearly migration to Mexico, which is thousands of miles south. How can such a delicate, tiny, light thing like a butterfly ever fly that far and why were they there ~~ that tree of all the trees in all the woods and meadows around~~I will never know the answer to this mystery. That place was a place we named Butterfly Hill.
Butterfly Story copyright Kathryn Barnes
Due to genetic engineering, the monarch butterfly may be lost forever. The pollen from corn that is carried in the wind to plants that the monarch uses as food, such as milkweed, has killed off 50% of the first generation of monarch butterflies. This is because pesticides have been genetically engineered into crops, and even the pollen is toxic. Although there have been a few measures taken in the US, such as restricting production of genetically engineered foods to 25% of a farmer's land, that amount of land and toxicity to the monarch is extremely significant.
I have lived in an area of monarch butterfly migration for over 25 years. I have not seen a monarch butterfly in years. I want to see one again. Don't you? If you are concerned about this, please do all you can. There are many groups fighting against the genetic engineering of foods. The Rachel Carson Council is one of them. Crops produced with built in pesticides have also been shown to cause cancer and immune system dysfunction in humans.
20 FAVORITE PERENNIAL PLANTS FOR BUTTERFLIES
Asters: late summer to fall
Bee balm (bergamot): summer through fall
Butterfly weed: summer through fall
Clover (white or red): summer to fall
Coreopsis: summer to fall
Dianthus: spring to fall
Lupine: late spring to early summer
Mints: all summer
Passionflower: summer to fall
Phlox: summer to fall
Purple coneflower: summer to fall
Sage: summer to fall
Salvia: summer to fall
Scabiosa 'Butterfly blue': summer through fall
Shasta daisy: summer
Thistle: late spring through fall
Why is Milkweed Important?
Milkweed is a plant that Monarch butterflies need
to live. The young caterpillars require it as a food source. The plant has been considered a "weed" and poisoned into near-extinction in many areas.
Milkweed was once valued and used for many beneficial purposes. The silky light threads of the pods were used to stuff pillows with. The flowers in certain stages are edible. Also, the plant has medicinal value.
In 2009, November, the artist saw a stand of milkweed in an abandoned meadow.
Cheers! Perhaps the butterflies will return someday!