The Butterflies Come.

“The Butterflies Come” is a favorite childhood story, written and illustrated by Leo Politi. It’s a gentle story about Stephen and Lucia, a brother and sister living in Monterey, California, where thousands of monarch butterflies rest each October during their southward winter migration.

As our garden grows, we're receiving more butterfly visitors. It’s always a thrill to see even the most common wildlife in our yard throughout the year -- rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, robins, cardinals, rolypoly bugs. Because of the plentiful catmint, coneflowers, roses and orange milkweed, we also see plenty of chubby bumblebees, the occasional goldfinch, and butterflies.

Butterflies Come garden shotLots of flowers in our front yard for butterflies and bees to love.

Recently, as we approached our front sidewalk after a family stroll with the pup, I halted dog and husband as quietly as I could when I saw a beautiful Black Swallowtail butterfly land on a coneflower.

black swallowtail butterfly_jpgFrom the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Weldon Springs Wildlife Scrapbook.

Coneflower closeupA coneflower just like this one in our garden! In fact, it might have been this very blossom.

We frequently see monarch butterflies on our flowers (did you know the monarch is the Illinois state insect?) and those fairy-like pale yellow sulphur butterflies that flit and dance in pairs from flower to flower. Butterfly bush with beeBees and butterflies love our butterfly weed.

I feel honored when any butterfly visits the garden, because I have intentionally planted flowers they are known to enjoy. It’s gratifying to see mother nature’s creatures take pleasure from our garden. And this swallowtail was a rare and magical sight! We stood still and observed for the few moments it sipped at the flower’s sweetness, then it moved on. What a thrill! Do I ever have my camera with me when we get such an unusual visitor? Of course not. But I've decided the pleasure of seeing it with naked eye surpasses the privilege of capturing it through camera lens.

This morning, during another outing with The Pup, I spied a striking Tiger Swallowtail butterfly tasting a neighbor’s potted petunias.
tiger swallowtail butterfly_JPGFrom the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Weldon Springs Wildlife Scrapbook.

I
watched for a few minutes, hoping I wouldn’t creep out the homeowners if they happened to see me standing on their sidewalk staring agog in the direction of their front door. When I figured I had stared long enough, we crossed the street to admire some apricot heirloom roses (which smelled absolutely dreamy! I want me some of those) ... and the swallowtail followed! It flitted, it floated, it fleetly fleed and then flew off.

Monarchs always remind me of that dear childhood book,
The Butterflies Come, about which I'll share more later. Can you imagine seeing so many gorgeous butterflies in one place? And during October -- my favorite month!

Inside Bay Area monarchs on treeFrom “In Search of the Monarch Butterfly in Monterey” at InsideBayArea.com.

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere in Michoacan MexicoThe Monarch Butterfly Biosphere in Michoacan, Mexico from ScienceRay.com.

Spectacular! But I’m happy with the few that bring simple enchantment to my garden.