Thursday, June 4, 2009

May Vacation Part I

Jamie and I recently took a few days to sneak off and enjoy a brief vacation. Our first stop on our trip was Callaway Gardens. I’ve wanted to see the Cecil B. Day Butterfly center for almost 20 years now and I finally got my chance. It was absolutely wonderful, I enjoyed every second we were there and I couldn’t think of another person I would rather have experienced it with than Jamie.


You have to walk a short little woodland trail to get to the Butterflies.

Day Center Path

The path is lined with these beautiful Lace Cap Hydrangeas. This one is called ‘Tiara’.

Lacecap Hydrangea Tiara

The Conservatory is composed of 854 panes of glass and is maintained at a year round temperature of 84°.


Butterfly Pole

The first things you see when you walk in are the wonderful butterfly prints on the wall and the nursery where they raise the butterflies.

Framed Butterfly


I headed strait to the Conservatory to see the butterflies. I can’t tell you how magical it was to walk into an area filled with almost 1000 butterflies drifting around. I was only there a second when this one decided to take a rest on my shoulder. He stayed there until I finally blew on him to make him fly away. He wasn’t bothering me, but I got tired of people stopping me to take my picture. I despise having my picture made and after about 10 or 15 people I’d had enough.


There are 50 species of butterflies here. I’ll only name the ones I could identify by the charts. Also, Jamie took a lot of these pictures, he was quite the shutterbug chasing butterflies around everywhere.


Owl Butterfly

Owl Butterfly


Thunbergia is a vine that is used a lot at the conservatory and I was excited to find there were more types than I knew about. The red and yellow Thunbergia Mysorensis below is listed as a cold hardy evergreen to zone 10. The Grandiflora dies to the ground every year at our house and grows back, I wonder if the Mysorensis would do the same? Does anyone know? If it does I would absolutely love to have it.




Here’s another vine that was not named in the garden I would love to have it as well. If you know what it is let me know please. It may not be cold hardy in our zone, but I won’t know that until we can identify it.



Blue Morpho

Blue Morpho


Malaysian Blue Clipper

Malaysian Blue Clipper


The Paper Kite butterflies were huge and had such floppy wings I was surprised they could fly. They bounced around like marionettes on strings.

Paper Kite


Doesn’t this little guy look like he longing to get to the other side of this window? He seems to be saying “if only I could find a way to get out there.”






I’ll post pictures from Chimney Rock, North Carolina in a couple of days. :-)


Anonymous said...

What beautiful photos you captured of all those flying flowers. I love the different Thunbergias you posted too. :) Thanks for sharing some of the wonderful stops on your vacation with us.

Becca's Dirt said...

Wow - I've never seen so many pretty butterflies in one place. I've never seen those. I never knew there was a conservatory for butterflies. I love that.

Pam/Digging said...

Lovely butterfly photos. I think it's funny that you hate getting your picture made and yet the butterfly on your shoulder made you the star of the show. :-)

Frances said...

Oh Randy and Jamie, what a heavenly place. I have heard great things about the Callaway Butterfly house and always wanted to see it, thanks for including us in your magical moment. Those are many of the same butterflies we saw in Chicago at the Lincoln Park house. There is one in Chattanooga, it must be new, that I need to visit, very close by. Also in Huntsville, AL. The one in Houston was first class too. I love butterflies as much as flowers.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Your photos are so beautiful. Imagine creating that wonderful building for butterflies. I would love to live in such a beautiful place.

My parents always used to tell me about it (they visited there many times) but I never went--even when I lived in Alabama.

Jamie and Randy said...

They are surely little flying works of art!

I can't wait to got to the Tenn. aquarium to see the one they have there. :-)

Maybe he could sense that and was looking for a good laugh. :-)


I'm right there with you. I enjoy the butterflies more than the flowers sometimes. They are such beautiful things!

I can't believe it's taken me almost 20 years to get there myself. I don't know why it took me so long.--Randy

Marilyn Jones said...

Thanks for sharing you great visit to Callaway Gardens. It brings back memories. :)

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

I agree with you -- butterflies are just magical, especially in a conservatory where you can see so many varieties up close.

Glad you had a wonderful time! I've never been to Calloway, but being Southern, I've heard so many great things about it!

Great photos! WOW!


Jean said...

Wow, that sounds like a great place. Such beautiful photos and butterflies. Thanks for sharing.

Gail said...

Just delightful...I remember visiting the butterfly house when our son was a small was a chilly day and hardly any were fluttering about...Your photos have more then made up for that visit! They are just wonderful...thanks for sharing~~gail

Lozza said...

Wow! Such a glorious place. Fantastic pictures. Wish I could have tagged along.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

This looks like a great place! It reminds me that I haven't gone to the Detroit Zoo or Meijer Botanical Gardens, two local(ish) places with butterfly gardens, in a while.

Jamie and Randy said...

I’m glad you enjoyed it, I’m certain I will have memories of our visit for a long time.

Jamie said if we go back to Calloway we are just going to stay in the park a few days. It would be impossible to even scratch the surface if you didn’t spend a couple of days there. I’m amazed that they are able to maintain something so large, so well.

Thanks for popping in on us! Wait until you see Jamie’s photos from Chimney Rock!

If it’s been that long then it’s time for another trip! You and Frances could load up and make a weekend of it!

This is a big surprise! You know you could have tagged along if you wanted to! You would have had a blast! I didn’t know you have a blog! I’m going to PM you on Gumbo!

It’s time for you to load up and make the trip! Everyone love a good butterfly!

Anonymous said...


We have just added your latest post "Creating Our Eden: May Vacation Part I" to our Directory of Pets . You can check the inclusion of the post here . We are delighted to invite you to submit all your future posts to the directory and get a huge base of visitors to your website.

Warm Regards Team

sweet bay said...

Ah, love the Lace Cap Hydrangeas. The butterflies are beautiful and what incredible photographs. Thanks for sharing these!

Bren said...

Amazing photography.... thank you for sharing! I am off to TWITTER about your trip you shared with us so others can enjoy as well.
Happy Spring - Stop by my garden sometime!

Skeeter said...

Butterfly houses are the best! We must get to Calloway Gardens as it is not that far from us! Probably too hot and humid now though...

Jamie and Randy said...

I’m glad you liked the photos. Those lace caps were the prettiest shade of blue!

Welcome! I’m glad you liked the photos; you have some pretty amazing pictures yourself. You are very talented! I’m so glad you stopped in for a visit!

Don’t let the weather stop you from going to the Butterfly center, it’s maintained at a specific humidity and temp so it will be the same regardless of when you go. :-)

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I really enjoyed these photos and your narrative, Randy! Jamie did a great job capturing the butterflies. What a wonderful place to visit! I am still planning to get down to the Lewis Ginter Gardens in Richmond to see the Butterflies Live exhibit they have going on. With my sprained ankle it may be a while yet;-( That little guy on the window may be the one you blew off your shoulder! I'll forgive you for blowing the powder off of his wings just because you didn't want your photo taken! (Just kidding, of course!) Jan

tina said...

You know all the I lived in Alabama one of my hopes was to see Calloway gardens. It looks to be most beautiful! Love the butterfly pics. So glad you share your trips with your stunning photographs. Makes me feel as though I visited too.

Anonymous said...

Jamie and Randy,
The unidentified vine at the Day Butterfly Center is a Clerodendron, specifically Clerodendron thomsonae. The flowers have fallen off and you have the colorful sepals.
Hope this helps.
Glad you enjoyed your visit to Callaway Gardens.
Callaway Gardens Education Department

NellJean said...

Fantastic photos. The only thing better than visiting the beautiful Day Butterfly Center at Callaway is planting some Porterweed, Pentas, Lantana and Tithonia in your own garden and welcoming the native butterflies that show up to nectar.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Aren't these butterfly conservatories just the most fun! The butterflies look like flying blooms.

Les said...

Very nice photos. I think your unidentified pink plant is a type of Clerodendrum. If it is, there are many tropical ones but a few are hardy.

Jamie and Randy said...

Trust me, if those giant fans at the gift shop doors don’t blow the dust off their wings my gentle breath didn’t, I’m sure he was unharmed. :-)

You just need to take off and do a butterfly conservatory trip, and visit all of them in the area. There are three more pretty close that I want to see.

Callaway Education Dept. ,
I don’t know if you will get this, but thank you so much for visiting the blog and taking the time to answer my plant question. My trip was wonderful and I shall never forget it. Of course I’ll be back.

Nell Jean,
We are trying to make our garden very butterfly friendly, but they seem to be late getting here for some reason… or am I just impatient.:-)

Now that I’ve seen pictures of you I’m picturing your face while I type this. :-) Each one if a flying work of art.

Thank you so much for taking the time to help with the ID! I’ve got another vine coming up shortly I need help with.