I am feeling a little behind on talking about our events this year, but hopefully some of you were able to reserve your Butterflies for last Saturday’s sold out release. It is one of the most beautiful and touching annual events we host! It is a site to see, 500+ guests releasing their butterfly within a 15 minute window of time.
Three years ago, Shannon from The Langley Hospice Society called to talk to us about hosting this event to raise awareness and funds for their society and their partner, Langley Care Foundation. They are a valuable asset to our community and have been serving the needs of the elderly and supporting people with terminal illness and their families for over 30 years. Wanting to assist with their great work, we began planning for the 1st event.
We learned about Butterflies from FlutterBuys, which previously I knew nothing about, except for how colourful and beautiful they are. The butterflies arrive from California when they are still in the chrysalis stage, they are then unboxed and welcomed to their new 2 bedroom home. They enjoy a temperature controlled environment in a warm room and another in a cold room. The colder room is where they rest and sleep and the warmer room is where they constantly eat watermelon and play, until they are grown enough to be released. This process, called metamorphosis takes about a month.
Their caregiver, Kim Sutton, who is a member of the International Butterfly Breeders Association, then transfers them (in the colder room, while they sleep) to small white triangle boxes. They are then transported in controlled temperature coolers to the farm where guests who have pre-purchased them. Butterflies must emerge from the boxes within a 15 minute time frame, give or take depending on the outside temperature. Guests take their little white boxes to an area within our garden and gather with their family for a very personal moment of reflection and then open their boxes.
This is where the beauty begins, in the flight of the butterflies. Some stay and linger, while others fly high to the sky then return and rest on beautiful flowers, colourful clothing, hair, arms and fingers. The beauty doesn’t stop there, it continues to be seen in the eyes of the guests, as there meaning for being here is so personal and they are in a world unto themselves amidst hundreds of others. It is a very touching time.
The butterflies stay around the garden and farm through out the next week. We planted the 4 quadrants in the centre of the garden with their favourite food, Milkweed, to encourage them to stay a little longer and with hopes some will lay eggs. I was in the garden weeding this morning while waiting for a school tour to arrive and was joined by butterflies flying all around me. I paused to wonder if one of them was the one I released in memory of my loved ones. I decided it was as that is part of the magic and joy these little beauties impart.