Friday, July 14, 2017

Brookside Gardens - It was all about the butterflies

Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland was our third stop on the morning round of the second full day of the Garden Bloggers' Fling.  We were allotted approximately 90 minutes there but that included lunch at the Visitor's Center and presentations by three of the Fling's sponsors.  Having been told that there was a butterfly conservatory on-site, I high-tailed it out the door in that direction while others queued up at the restroom.  There was a short wait in line to enter the conservatory even then but the exhibit didn't disappoint - there were butterflies of myriad kinds flitting about everywhere.  The biggest problem was capturing them on camera.  I came nowhere near catching photos of all of them but I offer a sampler of the least fuzzy photos.  (Note: My butterfly identifications are all best guesses based on a review of the conservatory's poster and a few on-line searches.)

I believe this beauty is Idea leuconoe

Eueides isabella

Siproeta stelenes

Papilio nephelus

Heliconius melpomeme (maybe)

Heliconius charithonia (maybe)

Catonephele numilia

Pterourus palamedes

I've absolutely no clue but he's a handsome fellow


My main quarry in the conservatory was the blue Morpho butterfly.  They were everywhere but catching them with their iridescent wings open wide proved difficult, although they were fairly easy to find in wings closed positions.

The elusive Morpho peleides with wings closed and open


However, when I sorted through my photos upon my return to California, I discovered I'd actually caught them in flight at one point while taking a photo of a butterfly identification poster.

You can see a Morpho in flight just above the grouping of butterflies in the lower right quadrant of the poster.  Yet another one can be seen further to the right near the poster's frame.


I'm not sure how much time I spent in the conservatory but, including the walk there and the wait time, it was well in excess of 30 minutes.  As we were expected back at the Visitor's Center for lunch and presentations, I hurried about, snapping photos for a short time before running into Sue of Idyll Haven and heading back to the center to collect our box lunches.  Given that Brookside is a 50-acre property, I can't say I covered much of it but here's some of what I saw.

I believe this is part of the Rain Garden, which sits just outside the butterfly conservatory.  After-the-fact, when reviewing my photos, I noticed several of the Solanum quitoense I'd admired the previous day at the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden in DC (planted near the red-colored canna lilies).  For the record, I ordered one of these plants from my favorite mail-order nursery last week.  (Hey, it just so happened that they had it available AND they were having a 20% off sale.)

This is the Formal Garden, captured from 2 different angles.  I like the mass planting of Verbena bonariensis here, as well as the use of grass at its base to hide the sometimes ugly base of the Verbena.

This may be the garden's Wedding Gazebo, which as I recall was just beyond the Formal Garden

A pretty pathway near the gazebo

Bridge into the Woodland Garden

This is the Trial Garden, which is reportedly changed out regularly to provide ideas for local gardeners.  The summer version contained a scarecrow beekeeper, dressed in succulents.

And this is the Children's Garden, which sits outside the Visitor's Garden


Brookside deserved more time.  I missed the Aquatic Garden, the Outside Butterfly Garden, the Rose garden and the Gude Garden with its Japanese tea house, among other things.  Hopefully, I'll get back there someday for a more thorough tour.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

21 comments:

  1. Looks like a place where one could spend a whole day exploring! Such handsome butterflies. Do you remember those butterfly-under-glass serving trays, etc? When I was in second grade in the Victorian era, my teacher had a butterfly specimen under glass display on the wall and the beauty of Morpho peleides fascinated me. I could often be found staring at it when I was supposed to be working. It was that butterfly's fault that I was held back that year. Seeing one in person might have caused me to miss lunch and the bus to the next garden.

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    1. I actually have one of those butterfly trays, Peter! It was something my father brought my mother from South America during the early days of their courtship, when he was in the Coast Guard. It sat on the shelf in the entryway of the house I grew up in and was the one thing I asked for from the house after my mother passed away. Coincidentally, it's centerpiece is a blue butterfly - or perhaps that was the basis of my obsession with the Morpho at Brookside. In any case, the tray holds a prominent position in my office bookshelf now. I regularly stare at it too.

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  2. I missed more than I saw in this garden, thanks for the photos!

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    1. I missed a lot too but I'm blaming the butterflies.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your photos of the butterflies from Brookside. I know you feel like you may have missed out on the rest of the gardens there, but I don't feel cheated, after seeing what you concentrated the focus of your lens on. They're lovely.

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    1. There aren't many experiences more magical than walking through a space filled with flitting butterflies. I think I've done that only once before - at the San Diego Zoo of possibly the SD Wild Animal Park. I can't think of a better way to interest kids in nature - or adults either.

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    2. There's a nice butterfly room at the Seattle Science Center, that I've visited. When you come up for your long overdue trip to the PNW, you'll have to check it out.

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    3. I'm still working on my husband to finagle a trip to the PNW. I'm currently targeting a visit in time to attend the NWFGS in February. He can visit with his brother and perhaps I can meet up with you and my other favorite PNW bloggers.

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    4. Hooray! Hope that works out, it would be wonderful!

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  4. Beautiful butterflies!I really like the pond in the formal garden, a wonderful place to visit! Thanks for sharing these amazing images!

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    1. While I wish I'd had time to see more of that botanic garden, I don't regret spending the time I had with the butterflies.

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  5. and the bridge, stepping into a magic world.

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    1. I did want to explore the woodland area further but I was afraid of getting lost and being left behind by the bus. There were no other bloggers in sight in that area.

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  6. Kris, you got some great photos of the butterflies. Love the happenstance of capturing that Morpho in flight against the butterfly poster. This garden would have been fun to explore further.

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    1. Yes, I was truly disappointed that I didn't have more time to check out other parts of the botanic garden.

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  7. You managed to pack a lot in for less than 90 minutes. Great butterfly photos - and you managed to get all the names, impressive. The one that's deep blue on the inside wing and a browny pattern on the outside is especially fascinating.

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    1. The chart posted in the conservatory helped a lot with the butterfly identification!

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  8. It looks like you could have spent most of the day there and not seen everything. Those butterfly photos are excellent--you did great. The one with the green spots--a very unexpected color!

    There are some intensely blue butterflies native to So Cal, but they are like 3/4", very small, easy to overlook.

    Thank you for this post.

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    1. I've heard that the marine blue butterfly can be seen here but, sadly, I never have. I don't know if that's due to the erosion of its habitat or poor scouting on my part.

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  9. 10th butterfly image, I believe this is some sub-species of Parthenos sylvia.

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    1. Looks like a good possibility. Thanks Eric!

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