Flowers For Butterflies

Every year the Horticulture building at our Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck is completely transformed to an indoor oasis for the fairgoers.   Local landscapers and florists donate their time and talent to creating a mixed garden of all sort of spaces to enjoy; whatever their whim to that year’s theme, which this time was “Inspired by Nature”.   I always try to create something using found & recycled things, and a display that also delivers a little message of awareness.   So, this year I chose the monarch butterfly as my subject; creating a meadow garden as I thought a butterfly might love.
The Concern For Butterflies
Like much of our wildlife; it’s becoming difficult for monarchs too.  Between development, farming, and chemical use; they are losing their areas and their all important, milkweed plants.  Milkweed is to them as eucalyptus is to the koala bear, only more.   More than ¾ of all flowering plants and over 1/3 of our food crops depend on butterflies, bees, and many other pollinators for fertilization.
The Flower Display & Show
Surrounding a secret fountain, I combined asclepsia (butterfly flower) along with larkspur, snapdragons, cattails, and a hoard of grasses and fuzzy millets & herbs.   Accented with a life-size, sign with assorted directions for the 50 butterflies I added.

A look inside the butterfly display

The big picture

A sign for the monarchs

Thursday evening in the live, design show; I decided to carry through the theme by creating human size butterfly bouquets for giveaway.  Everyone loves wildflower bouquets and butterflies!   I was awarded the blue ribbon for my display with kudos for the message it brought, but what really made it special was the amount of butterfly info flyers taken.   Meaning the signs were read and someone, somewhere is going to have a butterfly waystation and maybe plant some milkweed.  Or at least, won’t cut it down next year.  Now that is the real award and reward for me.
Butterfly Info
Watch for the monarchs in our area this autumn when they start their massive migration.  Our lattitude is 41 degrees so the migration should start this coming weekend if the weather turns cooler.

A rest area stop on goldenrod

I have dedicated one of the store windows to monarchs with all things butterfly that you will just love; click here to send one of our signature butterfly arrangements. Visit MonarchWatch.org for everything you ever wanted to know about monarchs and how to create your own little, waystation. One of my secret, favorite, places locally is the Rainbows End Butterfly Farm in Pawling, NY; a wonderful compound where you can walk among the butterflies yourself.    Walking with butterflies; is one of the better things in life that actually doesn’t cost or require a wing and a prayer.    A great deal       Be uplifted,  Lynn  

For The Love of Local Grown Flowers

The local grown flowers for the tri-state are now at their peak.  They are breathtaking, vibrant, and just a flower lover’s dream.  Each week I anticipate the new cuttings; waiting to see what is available.  And, somehow they always seem better than the previous weeks.  Just so many varieties like zinnias, dahlias, sunflowers, gladiolus, hydrangea, and the list goes on.  And then the herbs; its daily aromatherapy for all who enter the shop.  Why would anyone want the inferior, imported flowers?  There is positively, absolutely no comparison; for more reasons than one.

Flowers Are For SniffingWillow always accompanies me to the flower market and we have a grand time. A wonderful little extra I love is watching her sniff and nuzzle from bucket to bucket- with no fear from me towithhold her. Last week as I sniffed and nuzzled the lavender, she settled on some millet foliage and snacked away. This of course would be out of the question with imported flowers because of the chemical use, and I thought how children love to do the same thing and how fearful I would be to see a little face nuzzling in a Colombian daisy. Flowers were made to be nuzzled and sniffed up close on impulse, not from afar or washed first.Wheat...Grasses...Queen Anne's Lace

A Favorite Flower? While Willow seems impressed with the giant, millet & sorghum (aka bunny tails-hmm an obvious maybe for a greyhound?); I think this year I am most impressed with the coxcomb.  That odd, out of this world shaped flower that does not really look like a flower at all, but yet a wild, rippled, ladies fan.  The soft velvety heads seem to tease you to pet them like a puppy’s ear-they are irresistible. The colors further entice another of our senses in the strongest burgundy, the hottest pink, and the coolest greens.   Nature in its glory, but oddly with no two ever similar in size or form.   Ranging in size from 3” to 7” they each have their own personality and dry perfectly; making them a good choice for dried flower designs-especially wreaths.

Velvet Flower...the Coxcomb

 

Flower Lore

The generic name is derived from the Greek ‘kelos’ meaning burned, they are commonly called woolflower & velvet flower.  The English definition of coxcomb is a ‘conceited dandy who is overly impressed by his own accomplishments.’  How odd, because they do dominate the cooler for attention, bowing I think only to the giant sunflowers.   They do redeem themselves by being very medicinal for multiple ailments and their leaves a food akin to spinach.

Sunflowers-Chocolate for Honey Bees

Enjoy the Season

Our local crops usually run into late October or later depending on the weather.  And then, they are gone for another year.  I can’t stress or encourage you enough to enjoy them while they are here.  They are magnificent, last incredibly long, support our local farms & economy, and of course -feed the butterflies.

Echinacea-For the Love of Butterflies

For the love of them all, Enjoy...   Lynn