It all started about 5 or 6 years ago when I planted some zinnia flower starts and then waited for bees and butterflies. But few showed up. Looking into it, I discovered those were hybrid zinnias. The seeds are not viable so the nectar is not attractive. I fixed that the following year by planting heritage seeds. I was awarded with common buckeyes, painted ladies, swallowtails and lots of different skippers. Plus, many species of bees and lots of hummingbirds. I have a large garden of heritage and native flowers now.
I try to be a regular visitor to Hallberg Butterfly Gardens in Graton, CA. That woman’s efforts saved the beautiful pipevine swallowtail. But her gardens spoiled me. In her small acreage butterflies can come and go as they please. I discovered I like that so much more than the butterfly zoos I’ve visited.
When I visited Florida a couple years ago, many different species were flying past the house we rented. I discovered that a few houses away a woman had planted a small garden of butterfly-attractive plants. I was so impressed with how many butterflies came by.
Now, on a still, sunny day, I just sit next to some beautiful heritage flowers and wait for whatever shows up so I can snap some pictures. Those pictures are the basis of most of these paintings. – Donna