Franklin Park In Spring?

Midweek days off are rare in my world. I took yesterday so that my mother and I could visit the butterflies and flowers up at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus.

It wasn’t the best weather for this visit as the butterflies aren’t as active on cool and cloudy days. It actually snowed part of the time, making me ask more than once if it was really spring. Mother Nature seems a bit confused. All the same, we saw several varieties and enjoyed our visit with these flighty beauties.

You just have to slow down and pay attention because some aren’t easy to spot amongst the foliage. One guy was fortunate to have one land on his shoulder. My mother really wanted one to land on her but we weren’t so lucky this time.

It also wasn’t the best day for viewing the spring flowers outdoors. It was cool, overcast and windy when I ventured outside and tried to force some decent pictures.

All of the images here come from my iPhone because I didn’t take time to sift through the pictures on my digital slr. It has been having issues but I’m still cautiously optimistic that there are some good shots.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this tiptoe through the tulips (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) and walk amongst the butterflies.

The spring flowers run through April and the butterflies through May. Go visit if you can!

Daffodils

My daffodils began blooming yesterday. Like my father and grandfather before me, I am almost incapable of leaving them in the yard.

My dad watches their progress from the moment they begin to inch through the earth. He runs out to pick them for my mother the moment they bloom.

He learned this from my grandpa who loved to pick flowers to bring inside. On the other hand, my grandma believed that flowers belonged outside – in the yard where she planted them! She would get frustrated with him for bringing all her flowers inside.

His answer?

It involved a certain little girl with blonde hair in pig tails. He would let me help him pick flowers for her. She might be frustrated with him but couldn’t be mad at me!

I’m a blend of them all. I want my flowers mostly outside with just a few indoors to enjoy as well. I’ve been studying my daffodil patch all week and happily ran out to pick a few yesterday as soon as my workday ended. I brought in this small bunch but left most in the yard.

While they’re beautiful, it seems cruel to bring them inside, away from the fresh air and bright light of day where they stretch and grow with their little faces turned toward the sun.

Butterfly Ridge Conservation Center

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One of the best kept secrets in the Hocking Hills is Butterfly Ridge Butterfly Conservation Center. This 21-acre property has been in the owner’s family since just after the Civil War and is basically a series of woodland and flower gardens designed as habitat for native butterflies. It is fabulous.

For just five dollars, you can either go it alone or take one of the two guided hikes offered each day at one and three. If you’re like me and just want to wander around, fifty cents will buy you a booklet that helps you out along the way.

The one mile trail guides you through wetland, woods and on top of a ridge to a prairie area. It is designed as a loop so you can bail out after a mile and get back to your car quickly. Personally, I think you’ll shortchange yourself doing that. I saw some interesting things on the way back that I either missed or couldn’t see coming from the other direction.

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im_editedProfessionally done signs identify plants and trees, help you stay on trail and tell some relevant stories about the farm, the pollinators and their habitat.

It’s July so most of the flowers are spent for the year but those remaining are prolific and attract a number of butterflies and other pollinators. I saw tons of butterflies and bees as well as a few dragon flies, lots of birds, chipmunks, squirrels and a couple of deer.

The folks here are doing their part to help the environment in other ways besides looking after butterflies. The facility is solar powered and they harvest rain water. In all, it is well done and I would recommend you go visit.

Oh! And the best part? A tree house in a hundred year old Black Oak tree! Climb the steps and sit a spell, taking in the cool breeze and view. You’ll thank me later.

I plan to go back next year to see the spring wildflowers. They have a spur off the main trail that features a number of native spring wildflowers. I’ll probably aim for doing a guided tour next time but, for today, was happy going it alone with my camera and booklet. I had already been out hiking and was hoping to catch Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and didn’t want to wait for the tour.

Interested? Check out their website or follow them on Facebook!