For the last four years, Vanessa West of Bena has been attracting butterflies like the ones pictured here to her garden.
West has planted so-called “host plants,” such as milkweed, parsley, fennel and Dutch pipevine, on which the insects lay eggs in the hopes of creating a lasting environment for them. She said the plants attract Zebra Swallowtails, Monarchs, Black Swallowtails, and the state butterfly, Tiger Swallowtail, among others.
A butterfly collector since the 1970s, West said she was inspired by a young author, Kaleela Thompson of Hampton, to create this garden. At age nine Thompson wrote a children’s book about butterflies that has since been published in two languages and used in area public schools.
West planted the garden in part to give Thompson, now a sophomore at the University of Florida, a place to study butterflies in a natural habitat. ...
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