Journal archives for June 2011

June 27, 2011

Butterfly Gardens

It's high spring where we live; with fields just turning brown after a season of unusual late rains. I've read that this is a factor in the rather poor(to date) showing of butterflies in 2011. I can intuitively agree that such sogginess couldn't help; although it's hard to pass a chance to grouse about the #1,2,3 cause: loss of habitat.

Thus,an opportunity to pedal out to see our communities premier 'butterfly garden' to check out the counter-revolution. I've lived here 30 years with my insect obsession and been told by cheerful friends 10,000 times I need to see this enterprise. Heretofore I've only clamped my jaw to avoid saying something sardonic--a habit truly unworthy of the man I'd hope to be. It doesn't help to disparage nice people and noble motives; I only wish they regularly produced some sort of result. That's not enough to blackguard the name of any of my fellow citizens. I actually have learned something from the sixties: Butterflies will not grow from the barrel of a gun: only love is the way forward. But we must cleave to a program that is based in reality. Do Zoology Gardens at least provide refuge and a sliver of genetic hope for many homeless great vertebrates? Perhaps so... Is there an analogy in Butterfly Gardens? Here's the place not to type but to cue a recording of sardonic laughter: not fucking likely.

The Oasis was reached in 40 pleasant minutes by pedaling down a path created by benevolent agency along an abandoned right-of-way. Not landscaped, and then passing through or along nearly wild areas, I saw some nice butterflies. We are at this minute graced by a good flight of Western Tigers. I've always thought these our true State Insect; although that crafty Reagan himself signed a Bill giving this honor to the 'flying pansy'... but I digress, finding myself on even more dangerous ground in my present mood. At the time, Our Tigers actually lifted my heart and sped my progress into and through Nuclear-Free Sebastopol. Take that, you glib bastard!

The bike thing was not entirely my strutting idealism; but a needful expedient in getting close to the place. By 15' into the day's program, the place already choked by cars. So I glide up and afix the double locking system needed, and slope into the sanctuary. Nice people are everywhere, and the entrance is festooned with childrens' Art celebrating butterflies and their great friend. It's impossible not to be moved: even after my censorious inspection of the butterfly plant sale that offered pretty flowers but no milkweed, anise or even dutchman's pipe. I guess one garden per county will do the job.

Inside we see a fine example of western sonoma county: a naturalistic cultivation of flowering perennials mixed with native bush and (natch) introduced weeds. The signature here is a very nice cultivation of dutchman's pipe. In the right neighborhoods(near watercourses) this will host a gratifying visitation of caterpillars. I believe that this was begun a generation before, and inspired the rest of the work done here. It is done well; we should do them honor.

So why do we see fewer butterflies?? This was not my thought, but the remark central to the nice appreciative article in our regional paper that promoted yesterday's event at the garden. It had the usual begging of the question by citing a raft of issues: it really needs more study blah blah. But had you gone to google earth to plan your trip, you'd see acres of newly planted grapes just across the road. On the other side, extensive new paving around additions to the local school. A nice juxtaposition that: we like some development... but need to chose, and with an honesty perhaps beyond our poor grasp.

Posted on June 27, 2011 14:31 by icosahedron icosahedron | 0 comments | Leave a comment