“I think that it is time for me to do some educating in my weekly Contact vignette/Blog post,” I said to my wife Diane the leader of our landscaping committee. “That would be a nice change from you running around shouting ‘Jeepers Creepers’”, she responded. I ignored the comment. “People (at least two of them) have asked about the purple plants with the purple flowers along the walkway leading to the Lexow Wing. They are called tradescantia pallidas and we have another species in the memorial garden, tradescantia zebina. Diane looked at me in amazement. “You know the Latin names?”. “Yes, and I can inform you that they are species of the spiderwort plant,” I said proudly. “How did you know all that?” she asked suspiciously. “Oh, I am a rather learned horticulturist,” I said as I walked away while surreptitiously sliding my smartphone into a pocket.
No, we are not talking kings and queens here, just butterflies. While working with our church gardening crew this past Tuesday, we spotted a couple Monarchs flitting about one of the large shrubs near the back of our church property. We were struck by the beauty of their orange and black colors as they spread out against the tiny purple flowers of the shrubbery. And we wondered if they were “our” Monarchs. Last spring we had watched with great (almost obsessive) interest when a Monarch female laid eggs on our milkweed plant, beginning the complex reproductive cycle of butterflies. When the cycle was complete, we felt as if we had been part of a process that launched eleven new Monarchs into the world. This week, lacking evidence to the contrary, we decided that they were indeed “our offspring”. We stood and watched for a few minutes, in awe of the contrasting beauty of the butterflies and flowers. Then we went back to weeding, clipping and pruning.
From the Garden Gate