… or maybe not.
Admire these delicate creatures all you want, but today you had to bring along a donation to do so, that is, if you were visiting Felty Farms, a haven for butterflies. The donation was your choice of any item from Verne Felty’s wish list to help out local animal shelters.
So, for the price of a six-pack of paper towels, I enjoyed an afternoon with lovers of nature and beauty, and, I’m sure PAWS Clinic, Lucky Day Animal Rescue, NBS Animal Rescue and Wonderland Rabbit Rescue put that donation to good use.
There is no doubt that there is delight in discovering a beautiful butterfly that has alighted on a flower in your garden. You can’t help but marvel at the beauty of such a delicate creature as a Monarch or Swallowtail, but even the little Cabbage Whites can make you smile as they hover and dance about the garden on a sunny day.
I read about an event called an “open butterfly garden” in the local paper and it piqued my interest, so I decided to visit this home on Windermere Circle in Southgate this afternoon.
I knew this would be something special as I walked toward the house and saw the exquisite landscaping out front.
“Felty Farms” is the name given to Verne Felty’s humongous backyard garden in which her many perennials are planted for the sole purpose of attracting butterflies.
From the very moment I entered the yard, I was mesmerized by this paradise.
Where perennials don’t grow, there are whimsical containers brimming with annuals and imaginative yard art is nestled between plants or popping up in every available space. Several pathways constructed of wooden planks or soft mulch took visitors around the various areas of the yard where there was a Monarch Waystation, a segregated area where milkweed, the lifeblood of the Monarch butterfly was planted, and a very sophisticated scarecrow reigns over the garden as well.
Purple blooms from butterfly bushes lure butterflies and bees, and when a dainty Red Admiral butterfly alighted onto a bloom to sip that sweet nectar, at least ten people pulled out their phones or cameras and stood poised, waiting for that delicate creature to spread its wings so we could collectively take in the full beauty with our naked eye as well as the camera lens.
After we clicked away, we were additionally rewarded for our patience when that Red Admiral Butterfly stretched for us and soon even more oohs and ahhs and cameras clicking was heard.
The butterflies seemingly would have been the main attraction in this gorgeous yard, but they were a bit scarce today as it was overcast. Butterflies love the sunshine, and like to sun themselves on a flat rock. Perhaps the crowd scared the bulk of them away as well.
But the bees were not intimidated by this gathering of garden lovers. They were busying themselves inside the butterfly bush blooms trying to sip the sweet nectar. When people began waving their arms as the bees hovered close by, we were told that these were Carpenter Bees and they were harmless.
I was certainly not the only person infatuated with the Koi fish pond with its huge inhabitants. I’ve only seen pictures of these beauties and the Koi fish were the hit of this event for old and young alike. A waterfall splashed down into the pool which was filled with pond lilies and surrounded by colorful annuals and lush greenery. Some children were bending down close to admire the fish, so they were given some fish food to dole out. Everyone gathered around as the Koi fish grouped in one corner, eager to devour their lunch.
Around and around I went, ensuring I didn’t miss a single flowering plant or creative garden treasure tucked amongst those blooms.
My last stop was climbing the wooden steps to the deck to see Elvira, a 7-year old Shih Tzu, who was spotlighted on the news, after this severely abused dog was rescued by NBS Animal Rescue, where she is still recovering from her injuries almost one year later.
I enjoyed strolling through this butterfly garden and came away with the same peaceful feeling from this paradise that I had when I walked through Council Point Park earlier on a quiet Sunday morning.