02 March 2013

Butterflies in Winter

In reality, there are no butterflies in winter in Alexandria Virginia. This time of year brings little to write about in the garden blog, so I saved a few items from the past year for times such as this. The critter on the left is a 'Clipper,' native to southeast Asia.

The story started last winter with the seed swap I attended. I signed up for Washington Gardener magazine in order to receive a discount on the admission charge. Washington Gardener was the host and gave discounts for admission to its subscribers.

During the year, the magazine ran a contest with a question that asked, "what plant do you regret adding to your garden and why." Boy did I have a lot of material to consider. My response was, “Kniphofia uvaria - because:
  • bloom time is very short
  • for 11 months of the year, the plant is only an ugly tangled mass of leaves
  • takes up too much space for such a little blooming, messy plant”
Anyway, I won one of the prizes - tickets to the Wings of Fancy living butterfly exhibit at Brookside Gardens in nearby Wheaton, Maryland.

After being screened to enter the greenhouse, visitors were treated to a thousand butterflies fluttering about on plants, fruit, and people. Some were native, and some were non-native (butterflies not people.) I was itching to try out the video on my new iPad, so I assembled this collection of photos and video.

Some butterflies were shy, while some were quite convivial. If one stood still, they would land on you. I was sorry for the youngsters who were trying in vain to get one to land - we know young kids cannot be still for a moment.

I learned a thing or two about butterflies from the exhibit. It seems these butterflies preferred zinnias and 'rotting' fruit, although the fruit looked pretty fresh to me. They had a sweet spot for watermelon and peaches.

Blogger reduces the quality of the video, sorry. Some of the distant butterflies come out looking like fuzz - click the YouTube logo and then select a better quality setting. If reading this on an iPad, the video may be missing.

Dido - native to the Amazon & Andes

Red Postman - native to South America

Emerald swallowtail - Malaysia & Indoneasia

Zebra longwing - North-Central-South America

Leopard lacewing - India to S. China

Malabar Tree Nymph from India

Blue morpho - Central & South America

Queen butterfly - North & South America

Julia Heliconian - Brazil to S. United States

Owl butterfly - Central & South America


Les said...
They are all pretty, but I will take the Emerald Swallowtail.
Swimray said...
That one had an incredible iridescent emerald green sheen that does not show on a photo.
Janet QueenofSeaford said...
How fun to win the contest and get to go to the butterfly exhibit. I like Brookside Gardens, we went there on a MG trip before I moved. If I remember correctly they have a stunning peony collection. I was going to mention one butterfly I favored over another, but they are all so magical.
Janet QueenofSeaford said...
Nope, it was Meadowlark Gardens that had all the peonies. Brookside had all the roses.
Casa Mariposa said...
What a great winter escape! I love indoor butterfly gardens, especially when they land on you. I'll take a mating pair of each, please!
Swimray said...
This was my only trip to Brookside, and I was impressed with the shade gardens.

We almost walked out with butterflies attached to us. The problem was not in taking some home, but in letting non-native species loose on our landscape.

I added the music - Debussy's Arabesque No. 1.