It’s been slim pickens for butterfly viewing for most of the summer, so I was really happy to spot some a couple when we were out yesterday roaming around gardens.
There’s a large park as part of the Art Museum called 100 Acres. It was all farmland that had gone fallow and wasn’t very profitable because the soil was very gravelly. Then the land was used to supply gravel for various construction projects until it was eventually turned over to the museum. It is now a lovely public park, filled with art installations, places for kids to play, picnic areas, a huge lake, and lots of trails. We learned that almost all the trees (for it’s a heavily forested area in parts) are less than 80 years old, having gradually taken over the farmland as the land went through succession stages. The guide told us that the natural balance of this area was toward hardwood forests and, if left alone, the land would nearly always revert to this beautiful forested ecosystem. (This makes me giddily happy to live in such a place!)
Along the fringes of the forested areas, and in meadows, native wildflowers and grasses grow in wild abandon. The last of the wildflowers are in bloom and bees and butterflies were out busily drinking up the last of the nectar.
Then after our tour of Oldfields, we went to visit the greenhouses. These were also built in the 1910s, contemporary with the estate. They fell into disrepair and were restored in the 60s I believe. We’ve often enjoyed strolling through here, especially in winter, when the greenhouses are warm and cozy and you really need a “green” fix. There are gardens outside as well and as we walked by, we noticed some monarchs hanging on an evergreen tree.
At first I thought they might be decorations, but after watching them move about…. well, they were definitely alive! I’ve never seen butterflies do this before – hang upside down from evergreens. A few let me get close enough for pictures. It was delightful to watch them fluttering about. If you look closely in the background of the pictures, you can see windows and brick wall of the greenhouse. I was going to crop the picture down, but decided I liked the architectural elements in the background. As you’ll expect, I have a fascination and love for old glass greenhouses too.
Blessings to you,