by Rachel Creager Ireland

In my herb garden at Caryatids community, we harvest some of our herbs,  and keep the buds pinched off for best flavor; but some are left to flower. That is how we always have seed to plant next year, and to share with friends; and it is how we honor the pollinators who feed from the flowers and make possible the continued cycle of life.

One of the native prairie plants popular to butterflies is echinacea, commonly known as purple coneflower. But I have an exotic herb with a purple flower, which usually blooms before the echinacea, giving early butterflies a chance to feed. It is a member of the oregano family, and it flowers profusely through the summer. Some years a person walking by will be greeted by a cloud of lepidopterans rising up as if to greet one.

Shall we take a look?