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Last summer I had someone come to our house to try to rid our wildflower garden and flower beds of poison ivy and weeds. He knew very little about plant identification and along with the weeds he accidentally removed my two butterfly bushes by the edge of my deck, as well as many other desirable plants in my hillside garden. (Part of the yard has a very steep slope and it is filled with all sorts of bushes and trees - much better than trying to mow grass on a useless piece of lawn.) The hillside garden was looking very sparse all through last summer, but this past spring I noticed some new growth, though I had no idea what the plants might be. Miraculously, most of them turned out to be butterfly bushes, dozens of them just like the 2 I had lost. All through this June and July the hillside has been covered with all sorts of exquisite butterflies feeding on the newly flowering bushes, which have grown incredibly fast and tall and so thick that they resemble a jungle. Best of all, several hummingbirds have taken up residence in this hill sanctuary and every afternoon I sit on my deck and watch this miraculous scene of birds and butterflies and flowers. I can't even get through the densest parts of this beautiful refuge but this is what I imagine I might find in the middle of this wonderful place, if I could reach it. I was especially pleased with this set because I was able to use my own photograph of a butterfly feeding on one of the bushes. It took several hours because every time I tried to shoot a picture the butterflies heard the camera and fluttered off leaving loads of pictures of bushes but only a few that contained butterflies too. In the end I was satisfied though, and happy that I had the patience to stick with it. It was a lovely way to spend a summer afternoon.
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