A butterfly can’t always wait for a garden

The butterfly bushes are growing in our Syracuse backyard garden.

The butterfly bushes are growing in our Syracuse backyard garden.

I’d say on this Sixth of July that our backyard butterfly garden in our Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood is doing quite nicely.

The three along the back fence, the purple eldest at left, the center white lady transplanted from my sister Frannie’s garden on Long Island, and the great multi-colored baby at right, are sturdy, on schedule, but not yet at the flowering stage, as you can see in the picture above.

That’s of no concern to a butterfly.

Some beauty refuses to  abide by schedules.

Some beauty refuses to abide by schedules.

My dear wife Karen and I were lucky enough to be on our screened back porch to catch the wonder of this cornered beauty.

Soon after my fortune to capture the splendor of the above photo, Karen climbed a chair, carefully palmed the butterfly, and released it out the door.

Hopefully we shall see her in the garden when the blooms arrive.

Have you seen butterflies yet this season? Can you share a story about a butterfly inside a space that it shouldn’t have been? Have you been able to gently catch and release a butterfly, and how would you go about it if you had the chance?

45 thoughts on “A butterfly can’t always wait for a garden

  1. “Have you been able to gently catch and release a butterfly, and how would you go about it if you had the chance?”

    Never released a butterfly, but once I released my pet jumping spider after she had been almost entombed (enwebbed?) by a black widow. I used tweezers to pick the webs away from her. Took about thirty minutes, but I was not all that busy that day.

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  2. What a great photo! When I was little, I used to run around the yard with my finger out and I just KNEW a butterfly would land on my finger. But sadly, it never did. I have since learned that sugar water helps attract them. πŸ™‚

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    • Other things must have happened to that finger over the years, Rachel. I do believe you have an idea for a blog post here. The butterfly that never came and the fate that befell the finger.

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      • LOL! Grandma also used to tell me I could catch a bird if I put salt on its tail. Of course now I think she meant if I could get close enough to put salt on its tail. But yes, I used to run around the yard with a salt shaker in my pocket (always got in trouble for that) and my finger stuck out, just waiting for a bird or butterfly to land on it. (Think of Snow White.) The truth is, I probably would have crapped myself it one actually did!

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  3. I love butterfly gardens! Just bought some echinacea plants for my backyard b/c I miss seeing those little fluttering wonders:). So glad to know someone else out there creating a haven for them.

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  4. Mark, the town of DeWitt used to have a Butterfly House in Ryder Park (near the Erie Canal), but I’m not sure it’s still up and running. It was the size of a good shed, and screened in. You could walk through it in 2 minutes, but little kids who enjoy the wonder of butterflies and nature probably thought it was the coolest thing around. And speaking of the Erie Canal … I think it’s cool to live so near such a significant remnant of American history. I can run from my house and be there in 10 minutes, and set foot on the same towpath where donkeys once pulled barges. My Irish ancestors (and other ethnicities, I’m sure) built that wondrous canal from Albany to Buffalo. No folly, that!

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    • There may be a new gopher where those donkeys used to pull the barges. Perhaps. If it went down the hill and across the water … didn’t like Green Lakes … But I digress.

      The butterfly house for the children sounds fantastic, and I have walked the canal path with Karen many times, with a big smile as we look at the remnants of that time, sir.

      Thanks for bringing it back.

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  5. Instead of releasing it, you should have trained it to fetch you cool drinks.

    Can’t you hurt a butterfly if you touch it wings? Is that true? I lived in Phoenix for 18 months (too bloody hot!) and people would keep hummingbird feeders in their gardens. Really beautiful and delicate creatures!

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  6. she is doing a fly-by to check out her future digs, in my opinion. she is a beauty and i’m sure she will settle in quite nicely when her place is ready. i haven’t seen too many yet this year, and i’m hoping i’ll start to see them in greater numbers very soon, butterflies make everyone smile )

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  7. Oh, Mark, butterflies are my thing. I used to wear butterfly clips in my hair when I was young, and once I really WAS young. A gorgeous Cuban called me “Butterfly” each time he took me out, and if I had only had an ounce of sense…..ah well. This butterfly turned into an angel, so it ended well, and I don’t think I could have handled life in Boston.

    It’s been extremely noisy here for about 3 weeks now. Too many idiots with more money than brains bought out the illegal fireworks from across the Ohio, and have been shooting them off every night. It will go on until they run out in about another month, so I am using ear plugs to dull the noise while our poor PD is working overtime trying to herd the fools off the streets before someone blows a foot or hand off again. Or, as in a previous year, kills their child when the explosive misfires. They never learn.

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  8. Beautiful butterfly picture. We don’t seem to have so many here this year – but maybe my mind is on other things!

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  9. I love butterflies, of all kinds, Mark! I am so in awe of your photograph! I also wanted to say, I have found butterflies, wishing to get back outside, along with moths who were attracted to the bright lights in the houses. No specific story but these were great questions! Smiles, Robin

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      • It was hard, after 9 days away from the good ole’ warehouse, to get motivated to work fast, at the ‘usual rate’ of speed that I do! Thanks for asking about my ‘holiday’ it was nice to be with Mom and my brothers, sister in law for that long of time, but I stopped and gave my son the Doby jersey that I managed to get while paying for the Indians’ game! (He was another African American baseball player who ‘broke the color lines’ in entering a major league team, Cleveland Indians.) My son, how loved the white, with red letters and the blue Glidden paint can, instead of the silly Native American, Chief Wahoo! (It was an “XL”). I asked the little M & M girls to help Nana unpack her bags, which gave me a chance to hear their version of the holidays! Smiles, Robin

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      • Oh, Robin, I know all about Larry Dobey! I am a big fan of baseball history, and he is very important for breaking the color barrier for the Cleveland Indians. I am glad you were able to get that XL for your son. That is special! I do not like the silly Chief Wahoo, either, I think it is offensive. I have too many Native American friends here in Syracuse to allow such things to remain without upsetting me. Good time with the M&M girls lets Nana get back into the swing! I used to call my mother’s mom Nana. Good name, Robin, good name. I hope you can get back up to speed at Advance Auto Parts Warehouse and not have to wear a box on your heat for flying nails and other dangerous projectiles. πŸ™‚

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  10. I thought if you touched a butterfly, the powdered colors on the wings will come off on your fingers. That seems like a bad design if you think about it. I’ll have to ask God about that in about 60 yrs…

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    • I was too sports- and otherwise-distracted as a kid to follow the lovely butterflies, Diana. Silly me, chasing the ice cream man instead of the monarch. I wish I had been side by side with you, instead. πŸ™‚

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      • (smiling) Now imagine that. What would that have been like to have hung out as children?

        I was a shy and quiet kid. I did a lot of observing. I was so drawn to animals and nature. I didn’t trust a lot of people.

        I’m sure you would have won me over with an ice cream though!

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  11. The butterfly was just checking out your place before she settled in your garden. You know, like they do before you adopt a child -it’s important to know the family has a safe warm environment before trusting the garden. Ha!

    I’ve lived in apartments and such for quite a few years so I haven’t had the pleasure of having butterflys at home. However, the last place I worked was a tanker company.in an industrial park and for some reason Monarchs settled in every year (it was light industrial and there were 12 foot cedar hedges between the lots – that may be what attracted them). I was the hiring officer and one day an experienced tanker driver (a very lucrative hire when we didn’t have to train for 4 weeks) walked in to check out what we had to offer. I normally only did interviews by appointment because the office was small – 6 of us – and space could be a challenge, especially if the manager had our board room booked – which he did this day. Not wanting to miss this possible opportunity, I asked the driver of he was OK if we talked outside. It was a beautiful warm summer day and he readily agreed, We stepped out onto the walkway and immediately a big Monarch butterfly started to circle around us. It eventually settled on my leg. While we talked he kept looking at the butterfly clinging to my leg and I tried to ignore it. After a few minutes it took off, circled some more and then landed on my right arm – I was wearing a short sleeved shirt. It was hanging on there sideways to the ground and it looked uncomfortable so I bent my arm 90 degrees and held it, butterfly and all, in front of me. The driver kept glancing at the butterfly as we spoke. I was determined not to make the butterfly uncomfortable and it was getting hard to ignore, like it was listening to our conversation. Eventually my arm got tired and I swung it back down carefully. The interview continued for about 20 minutes, all the while the butterfly paid rapt attention.The interview concluded and the driver left the butterfly and I on the front walk. He did come to work for us. (the dirver, not the butterfly).

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    • I hope the Monarch got a 5 percent finder’s fee for helping land that driver, Paul, for his dramatic and rapt attention.

      That’s a great story. Your ability to swing the arm, keep the Monarch attached and safe, still maintain the interview is priceless. And the driver’s ability to maintain eye contact, refuse to laugh out loud at your discomfort, and respect the dignity of the butterfly is unparalleled. No wonder it was a good match.

      Thanks for the tale of the Monarch and the job interview, my friend.

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  12. I’ve not seen any yet this year. But we usually see some when we are biking. I wonder if the over abundance of birds this year has anything to do with that? Birds seem to be ruling the air this year. I’ve been biking and felt like I was under attack by so many swooping feathers. No flutterbys though.

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