Every Time I See It . . .

Jeff Zablow butterfly Mobile III photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Imagine one destination, that negates the need to travel to 15 destinations. As wingedbeauty.com’s audience grew, I knew that some time soon, those wonderful folks would become, well satiated with views of northeastern USA butterflies. I knew it was time to cast out my ‘net’ and expand my image library with southeastern USA butterflies.

I’d been to Mississippi twice, and to Tybee Island/Savannah National Wildlife Refuge twice. Butterfly images captured there were good, but we still needed lots of native butterflies. Connecting with folks on Facebook helped. I found folks in South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia and Tennessee who knew the butterflies of their regions. Problem was when, after weeks of FB’ing and accepting the status of “Friends,’ no sooner did I ask, Would it be possible for me to drive down from Pittsburgh, and would you show my your favorite butterfly destinations? The response was always the same: Complete silence, and withdrawal of the Friends thing.

In 2015, I began to notice a name on Facebook, Virginia C. Linch. People wrote well of her, and she seemed to be a selfless person whom, it was clear, was admired by a good number of folks. She worked in mid-Georgia, in the verdant Piedmont region, in Eatonton, Georgia. After a full day of work, and on weekends, she and less than a handful of friends created this garden, on the site of a brownfield. It was the site of a once operational aluminum processing plant (brownfield is a designation earned by a place that once produced industrial material, and is now presumed to have extraordinary concentrations of metals and other pollutants still present in its soil base).

Its name? Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat. It was jam packed with butterfly hostplants and wildflower plants that pump nectar. I visited 3 times in 2015, 4 times in 2016 and 4 times in 2017. The Habitat presented me with a Bonanza of butterflies, often with a hundred or more aloft at any given time. Southern butterflies.

I’ve shared dozens of images taken at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat. It’s a dreamworld of fresh, vibrant, healthy butterflies. Giants, Zebras, Pipevines, Sleepys, Cloudless Sulphurs, Monarchs, Carolinas, Junipers, Spicebushes and Purple Hairstreaks . . .

Virginia is very creative. She designed and hung a mobile with metal butterflies. It was fabricated by Doug Barker. Every time I see this one, with my name on it, I am Happy, Very Happy.