Happiness is a Butterfly

The Mountain Garden Club, known for their work with butterflies at Highlands School and the Eckerd Living Center, will feature plants for butterfly gardens at this year’s annual plant sale Saturday, May 28, 9:00 A.M. to noon. 

As Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, “Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

Hawthorne captures our fascination with butterflies – we chase them as children, we give and receive butterfly kisses, and we marvel at the less than lovely caterpillar transforming into the graceful butterfly.  

The key to creating a good butterfly garden is to give them what they like to eat, and that’s different for different butterfly species, especially during the caterpillar stage.

Some of the most picky eaters are Monarch caterpillars, which only eat milkweed leaves. Fortunately, the Monarch population is beginning to recover from record lows of recent years.  The challenge is to sustain that trend.

Monarch eggs are laid on the underside of milkweed plant leaves.  Eggs hatch into larvae or caterpillars that chew the leaves, then form chrysalises, from which adult butterflies emerge -- hungry, looking for nectar plants.

The more blooms, the better.  Adult butterflies love a smorgasbord of dahlias, foxgloves, lobelias, lupines, Joe Pye weed, and more. 

Consider planting a butterfly garden with plants from the annual Mountain Garden Club Plant Sale.  You’ll find milkweed and other plants caterpillars love, a variety of nectar plants, and information about creating a garden to help the lovely Monarch and other butterflies thrive and continue on their journeys.

The 34th annual Mountain Garden Club Plant Sale will be held at the Highlands ball field on the corner of Highway 64 and Hickory Street on Saturday, May 28.  Bring your own cart, wagon, or sled, or use the sleds the club provides to load up your purchases.  Come early because this highly anticipated event gets busy, with many plant selections selling out.  Gates open at 9:00 A.M. and close at noon.  Rain date is Sunday, May 29, from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M.  Cash and check only, please.