Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sticks and stones may break my bones

so keep them in the garden.

I love rocks. So much so that on a family boating trip, I took two unique looking rocks from the banks of Brookville Lake. When we were pulled over by the sheriff an hour later I was sure I was in trouble. It turns out you have to have a permit to be boating on the lake and rocks really aren't relevant. One write-up and three children's tattoos later, we were on our way. The rocks made it safely to my garden. I'm also the only one I know who gets excited to find them buried in my yard. When I went to plant my azaela in the front, I uncovered a fabulous 10lb rock. It not only made an excellent addition to my butterfly garden but left quite a hole for the bush I was about to put in. Two birds, one stone.

Rocks are essential for a butterfly garden. They heat up in the summer sun and provide a pleasant resting place for the flying insects. Wait, are butterflies insects? I'll Google that later. They not only like rocks but gravel too. Again, natural warmth. Wind isn't pleasant (probably difficult to fly) so areas protected are also essential. Oh and both butterflies and hummingbirds need to take baths. Puddles are their favorite and the best way to create them is a flower pot filled with gravel and a small amount of water. What I don't know are the types of butterflies native to my area and when I begin to read about it, I'm too overwhelmed so I'll just wait and see what comes my way, photograph them, and THEN look the species up.

In order to have butterflies, though, one needs caterpillars. But to have caterpillars,  one needs butterflies. Oh, the cycles of life always confuse me. No source out there is willing to explain the origin (if we don't know if the chicken came first, we probably won't know about the butterfly either). So, my plan thus far has been to plant a little of everything. I have the butterfly bushes and bee balm to attract the adults. I have the penstemon and dill for the caterpillars to feed. For now, it doesn't look like much. Nothing has begun to flower but I know what it will look like in the spring and I hope for the best.

In my garden, I created a path to wind up and around the ornamental grass. Some Rose of Sharon from my J-ma is new and lines the opposite side of the fence. In time, I hope, the shrubs will grow up and create a hiding place for the kids to play in the back of the garden as well as a variety of views of those butterflies I still hope will come.

Chad can continue to mock my somewhat dead looking garden but I know what is coming. I keep my mouth shut for now and he'll see. I can't blame him as it doesn't look like much now. And it is just a small corner of the yard. The leaves have begun to fall and cover the ground. I will leave them and pull them back in the late winter as I know they will strengthen the soil all winter long. Those drooping plants will come to full life next spring. Then the butterflies. Then the caterpillars. Then the butterflies. Crossing my fingers.

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