As you all know, I've been preparing to work in the Butterfly House at Cox Arboretum this summer. I completed my first training session this week where I got this pretty booklet identifying the common butterflies native to this part of Ohio. These will be the butterflies that will be hatching inside the Butterfly House soon.
I thought you might like to see what the house looks like. It is really quite large. The only hard part of this job is the heat. The house is made of nylon mesh which allows sunlight to penetrate but not breezes. I'm told that the temperature inside can get quite a bit warmer than the outside temperature, and we are already reaching the 90 degree mark now. We will work in teams of four and in two hour shifts so that we can take breaks, find some shade, and hydrate. The grounds around the house are planted with lots of wildflowers that attract even more butterflies than are housed inside.
This is a peek inside the house. It is not open to the public or even to us volunteers yet. I'm told that eggs have been spotted on the underside of some plants so it won't be long before we have caterpillars.
Caterpillar Identification will be the topic of next week's training seminar. I think this will be difficult as many of the caterpillars resemble each other. We will have guides and handbooks like the one shown above for looking up butterflies and caterpillars that we don't know. We will get lots of visitors through the house this summer as this is a much anticipated event each year.
This is such a pretty park and I really enjoy working here. The Butterfly House is located just beyond the trees behind the bridge.
I've also been fooling around with sandcasting birdbaths. I salvaged a few rhubarb leaves from Cox when they were being pruned and thought I'd give this a try. In this photo I had removed the leafy part after the cement had dried and I am waiting for the veins to dry out so that I can pry them from the grooves in the cement. Next I will paint it lightly with a thin coat of green acrylic paint. Then I will seal it with cement sealer and it will be ready to put outdoors. This one measures about 2.5' x 3'.
I also made a similar one, but much smaller, and made with a small hosta leaf from my garden. You can see that the leave was smaller than the actual form. This one is only about 4" x 6". This was a fun project and not very messy at all. If you are intersted you can find instructions here: http://www.squidoo.com/garden-crafts-birdbath
I went to an art show last weekend where I saw these leaves done in varying sizes and made into fountains.