Butterfly under Glass

My mosaic butterflies flit up the porch wall.

In my musings on local wildlife I didn’t mention the butterflies. I haven’t geared my garden toward attracting them, but have received more frequent visits from monarchs in the last few weeks. I like butterflies as much as the next girl, and have a few winged touches thrown about on my screened porch. They are one of the loveliest visitors to the garden, after all.

Apparently my tiled souvenirs of the Key West butterfly garden have seduced more modestly colored Virginia butterflies to entrapment in my screened porch. Like sirens, the large tiled insects have led a few poor swallowtails into the cool shadows of the screened porch, never to leave.

I found the butterfly above, which butterfliesandmoths.org (who knew?) has helped me identify as an Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail, sitting prettily on my coffee table. After a moment’s admiration, I picked up its hind wing and dropped it into my little vase, showing off its beauty like Snow White in her glass coffin. I felt a little morbid – like the morning after you realize you forgot the holes in your lightning bug jar – but remembered the Key West gallery’s displays of lifeless butterflies in flight and figured it was only human nature to want to preserve this delicate beauty beyond its so-brief lifespan. Over coffee this morning, watching large yellow- and blue-winged butterflies bobbing erratically over the grass, I’ve been thinking about ways to encourage these insects to stay just a little while longer. What butterfly-friendly additions have you made to your garden?

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