My friend Nicole wrote on her blog about her family’s experience with the live butterfly garden and with how much Bracken loves butterflies, I knew he would love it. I put it on his wishlist and his aunt and uncle sent him a live butterfly garden for his birthday. With the weather warming up, I redeemed the coupon for his cup of caterpillars. Bracken was so excited to get that box at the post office! The caterpillars were so tiny when they arrived and even though we read that they grow quickly, we were astonished with how quickly they actually grew. In a single day you could see them get substantially bigger. Bracken wasn’t the only one who enjoyed watching the caterpillars, Jeff and I would stop to watch them every time we passed.
Then we got to see them hanging in their crysallises (I took a picture of some in Bracken’s hand, aren’t they neat looking?) and we waited patiently. One morning Bracken came yelling “Mom!! One of the butterflies hatched!!” We all came to see and then as the day went on… two, three, four butterflies emerged. (We had 5 caterpillars to start with and ended up with four butterflies.) Bracken and I went out into the yard and picked as many flowers as we could find (there’s not lots to be found yet this time of year, but we brought in a few handfuls.) We put the flowers in the bottom of their house and Jeff made some sugar water, according to the instructions, for Bracken to cover the flowers with to feed them. It was so fun to watch them drink!
The painted lady butterflies were so beautiful and were such fun to have in the house with us for awhile. We needed to let them out into the garden within a week and waited for a nice, sunny day to do it. Bracken and I brought them out into the garden and one by one he let them go. Some flew high into the sky and others hung out near Bracken’s pink blueberry plant for a bit (where he placed them and wanted them to live) and the honeyberry plant. We went inside and then later when we came out we spotted one of the butterflies outside on the ground, not moving much. It didn’t seem to be doing very well, so Bracken wanted to bring it inside to feed it more. He fed it and it perked up a bit. Then he placed it on a potted plant right by the front porch and said goodnight. When he came down the next morning he immediately went outside to check on his butterfly and it was still there in the same place!
Since it wasn’t moving much, Bracken wanted to bring it in and feed it again. It drank right out of his hand, what a magical experience! He doted on the butterfly and took such good care of it. Every time he brought it outside and tried to let it go, it wouldn’t leave his hand. The butterfly didn’t ever seem to want to leave him. They formed quite a friendship (see that picture Bracken drew of his dear butterfly friend? I adore it.) He brought his butterfly out again and left it there, knowing it wasn’t doing well and might not live long. The next day it was still in the same spot again and Bracken had a little more time to say goodbye. He placed the butterfly on a daisy in the yard and it enjoyed it’s last moments there in the sunshine, being adored by a little boy.
What an amazing experience! Jeff already ordered more caterpillars and we’re looking forward to going through the process all over again. I think it’s safe to say that the live butterfly garden was one of Bracken’s favorite gifts ever.
P.S. I’ve been getting packed and ready this week for another trip. Bracken and I are going to Iowa to celebrate my grandpa’s 90th birthday. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be a part of it. I won’t be bringing my computer along (though I might be posting on Instagram during our travels, we’ll see) and I will mail out all orders in the shop when I return. I’ll be back in this space early next week. Though it’s only Wednesday, wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead!