Hi Everyone,

A departure from knitting this week for another love, my garden.

A couple of months ago when clearing out my veggie garden for fall planting, I  was in a ripping mood. I wanted to clear the beds completely and start anew. One plant that made itself a candidate for the big pull was this swan plant, aka milk weed. I’d planted it during the summer to help keep insects away, and it grew much larger than expected (you’re right, I didn’t do my homework). You can see it here, in the centre of the photo, sticking out of the edge of  the veggie patch.


Towards the end of summer I noticed a couple of monarch butterflies doing a daily dance around my garden. Quite beautiful they were, as much in their movements as in their colouring. I was happy to see them whenever I walked to my front door but thought nothing more of them, until I came to pull out the swan plant. On it was a very large, brightly-striped caterpillar.

After making some enquiries I realized that this was the offspring of the monarchs and I couldn’t bear to destroy its home. I was told that if I waited a few weeks it would go through its life cycle and leave the plant.

I’m still waiting, because now, the plant is populated by many caterpillars and many cocoons. It seems that I have a thriving monarch breeding ground and the plant will have to stay.

[It should be noted that monarchs are not native to New Zealand. They found their plucky little way here some time in the 19th century].

Can you see a cocoon in the centre right of this photo?

As yet I haven’t seen a butterfly emerge from one of the cocoons, but I’m watching and hoping.

Looking like a butterfly herself (or at the very least a plant a monarch might like to nest on) is the beautiful Iranian actress Laila Hatami in this gorgeous green gown, worn at Cannes this year.

David and I recently watched her in the wonderful A Separation, a domestic drama set in Iran. Its themes will touch anyone who is human: elder care, Alzheimers, kids, financial worries, marital strife and the challenge of juggling all these balls at once. It’s beautifully acted, photographed, and masterfully directed. I was fascinated by this window into daily life in Iran, with characters that could be me or my friends. I’ve not provided a link to this movie because most sites tell too much about the plot. We saw it without knowing anything about it (the best way, don’t you think?), just that it was the best-reviewed movie of 2011.

Laila is now on my fashion watch list, along with Tilda and Cate. I love women who take fashion risks and don’t feel the need to sell sex. Less is more. Check out her shoes! I love platforms.





2 Responses to “butterflies”

  1. lisa Says:

    Mel- I love your garden discovery!!! What an incredible phenomenon those Monarch butterflies in your garden…. you are right, they must be
    nurtured and allowed to be there.

    I too, loved A Separation. Alba and I went to the cinema not knowing anything about it….. yes a superb interpretation of universal daily life and all that entails. She is a stunning actress, great poise and style, like Cate and Tilda…. I am with you on all 3 of those girls- strength, individuality and dressing for themselves

  2. Mel Says:

    to those who left helpful messages about how to transplant my milkweed plant, I accidentally erased your comments….my apologies, and thank you very much for your advice!

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