I noticed in your Friday, May 16 edition that Butterfly Gardens was selected as one of the Seven Wonders of the Saanich Peninsula.
It was a Peninsula Green Drinks event that brought me to the Butterfly Gardens in late April. I had not visited this garden in the last few years and was inspired by its evolution into a local tropical oasis.
Of course the butterflies remain a feature attraction but now there is a diverse community that lives at the gardens. There are flamingos, ducks, turtles, fish, a parrot re-training for flight and exquisitely marked poison dart frogs, relieved of their toxic menu. Did I mention the warm, balmy air?
And the Gardens do not only import butterflies but also raise their own. The caterpillars are a wonder to witness as they grow and shed their skins like snakes. They seem to enjoy feeding in groups and, if offered native host plants, take care to allow the new growth on plants to flourish too. Although the Postman is disappearing from our species, he is alive and well, sporting bright, primary colours in the butterfly world.
Then there is the sheer magic of metamorphosis. The caterpillar first fashions a Houdini-like vessel, turns itself into a liquid, and finally emerges as a winged art form.
The feat is breath-taking in scope. The next magic feat is the reproductive requirements of the male Atlas moth that I believe would both thrill and terrify most of my guy friends.
Did I mention the tropical heat?
The garden staff were welcoming, knowledgeable and spoke of their efforts to reduce the energy footprint.
They have even enlisted the turtles to contribute to their recycling/composting operation. And for local residents who may enjoy a tropical reprieve on cold, damp days, the Gardens offer reasonable season passes.
Did I mention the soothing, oh so warm temperature?