Wings of Fancy

Have you ever been so busy that you feel as if you are caught in a white water current and its carrying you down the river so quickly that you can’t even see the scenery? That’s how I feel lately. I’ve been having a lot of fun and getting a lot done, but I rarely have time to reflect. I’m trying to slow the pace a bit so that I can at least enjoy the scenery.

Two weekends ago (for the opening day!) M and I visited the Brookside Gardens butterfly exhibit, Wings of Fancy. It was lovely to be inside the conservatory with all the butterflies fluttering around us, sometimes even landing on an arm or head! We stayed in the conservatory for well over an hour before strolling around other parts of the gardens. When we returned home I was so excited to share photos of our day that I somehow managed to erase over 60 photos from my memory stick, luckily not of the butterflies themselves, but of the lovely azaleas and wisteria that I found so magical. Just another reminder to slow down…

My favorite species is from these first few pictures: the Leopard Lacewing. Maybe I’m biased because it landed on me. Or maybe it was just the brilliant orange colors.

We were also fortunate enough to be able to view freshly laid eggs! The eggs were laid that morning by the Julia Longwing, the orange butterfly pictured below. The eggs were tiny yellow sacs just a bit larger than a period.

We also saw these humongous Atlas Moths. They were stationary the entire time which was probably a good thing. With a wingspan of about 7 inches, I have a feeling I might have let out a little scream if one of these landed on me. The reason that they are so slow is because these moths get all the nutrients they need for their lifetime as caterpillars because in the moth form they don’t have working mouth parts. After mating, the females will lay eggs and then die. They only live for a week or less.

Chocolate Pansy

Brown Clipper

Blue Clipper

Lemon Pansy

Blue Tiger


Pipevine Swallowtail


Zebra Longwing

Paper Kite

In addition to my veggie and herb gardens, I have planted a flower garden designed to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Lantana seemed to really attract the butterflies last year so it is definitely included! (See here, here, here, here, and here. Oh, and here too.) Shall I add that it was much less stressful photographing butterflies in a closed location with no wind than chasing them wildly through the front yard through swarms of bees? Yes, it most definitely was.


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