Sunday, August 5, 2007


Yesterday I spent the day at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum. Lots of different booths were set up for the garden fair: orchids, Peace Corps, herbal pillows, California Native Plant Society, and of course, we were there with caterpillars. Glenn Keator and Arlie Middlebrook were there signing their new book, "Designing Native California Gardens" so of course I had to buy a copy.

Andy spent the whole night preparing insect jars. Of course, they were beautiful as usual. Jessica and I arrived at his house at 7 am to load plants. When we arrived at Strybing, the place was already buzzing with activity. We were all set up and ready by the time the fair opened at ten.

The day went really smoothly because there were three of us working. Jessica quickly learned how to lure people to our table with the invitation to see a butterfly egg. I let Andy sell plants for most of the morning, but by the afternoon I started trying to get people interested in buying. My spiel: "Most people think that they need flowers to attract butterflies, but really, you need foliage to feed the caterpillars. The caterpillars are very particular about what they eat, and we have here an selection of those plants that caterpillars prefer." Very few people were interested, but a few bought the plants for the pretty flowers. Others said things like, "No wonder I have so many of those white butterflies in my yard! I have lots of nasturtiums!" So people learned from us, which was really our main goal. But because Jessica drove separately, we brought a whole extra car-load of plants, and sold more than we usually do. So it was a successful, but tiring day.