Check out the link below to read more information about butterflies provided by:

Tim Brys, Manager, Insect House, Dallas Zoo and
Member, Greater Dallas Organic Garden Club

Butterfly PDF

Travelogue Spain 2012


The Liddell family was off again in June, this time to glorious northern Spain. We flew to Madrid and spent a few days there seeing the Palace and the Prado, and everything in between. It was so true that the Spanish go walking every evening-called "the Paseo". The people watching was incredible. We took a day trip to Toledo-so quick and easy, just a half hour train ride-and enjoyed the ancient capital of Spain with it's narrow streets and beautiful views. From Madrid we flew to Santiago de Compostela, another beautiful old city and the final destination for pilgrims walking the "Way of St. James" or "Camino de Santiago". I wish I could take off work to do the walk! We arrived in Santiago just in time for noon mass at the cathedral with all the pilgrims who had arrived that day. Amazing! After a brief visit to the tantalizing farmer's market there and all it's varied shellfish and pork products, we headed to our B&B for the night, a pretty little farm and vineyard on a reservoir in Portomarin in Galicia. The countryside was so green! It was a bit rainy and chilly, and the farmstead dinner we ate of a hearty kale and white bean soup, pot roast, salad and the local almond cake (see recipe) was just what the doctor ordered. Food tastes much better when you can see the garden it came from growing right outside the window. The next day we headed off on a drive across the northern coast of the country over to the Pyrenees. Scenery, scenery, scenery. Takes away the stresses of city life! Our next B&B was in the tiny town of Oderitz, high in the hills of the lower Pyrenees. This Basque family house was beautifully restored by a young family. Their 4yo son could not wait to practice his English on us. They speak Euskara, the Basque language. We did a lot of communicating by hand gestures! Euskara is a very ancient language, full of double consonants with "tz" and "tx" in seemingly every word. All of the towns in this area were similar-very quaint stone and stucco buildings with porches and windowsills FULL of geraniums. So pretty! It was if they were trying to cram a geranium plant in every possible corner they could. We saw the town of Pamplona, where the running of the bulls was about to take place in July, and a beautiful Spanish winery. We also hit Bilbao, and the magnificent Guggenheim with it's dramatic architecture. The city of San Sebastian near the French coast has a beautiful beach and the best tapas in Spain (really called "pintxos" in this area). After several rejuvenating days in the mountains visiting multiple towns, monasteries, and seeing one gorgeous view after another, we headed on to Barcelona. This gem of the trip from a gardening standpoint was here: the Park Guell. This is a city park designed by the famous architect Gaudi, whose Modernist work is visible all over Barcelona and really the signature of the city. The plants in the gardens were lovely, but the real sight is all the hardscape. EVERYTHING is covered in gorgeous mosaic, and the fun fanciful shapes are quite a site. Even more intriguing was the Sagrada Familia, the huge cathedral still being built, originally designed by Gaudi. Panoramic views of the city from the top of the spire are not to be missed. After two days of exploring Barcelona, we took the very nice and efficient high speed train back to Madrid. On the final morning we had a ceremonial breakfast of churros con chocolate, and wearily flew back home. What a trip!


A little travelogue from the Loire Valley, Franc


  Check-out this site: or, even better, head to France, to the Loire Valley and visit the wonderful palaces and gardens there. With, you can find a lot better deals than advertised at this site, but well then, some of you may actually want to stay in a real chateaux. I have just toured the Loire Valley and seen the International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire where garden-artists exhibit their flowery creations. It is a real art exhibit where plants provide the medium for creating art. Some art works are on the bizarre side – such as a plot with planted brooms (supposedly later in the year something will grow on them) – and some are charming (my favorite is a French bed with linens and all in the middle of a rose bed), but no matter what the theme is, all the plots are original and delightful, and all of them are full of plants. A French chateaux in the background is not bad either. However, for those of us who think that these buildings are may be just a bit too big and old-fashioned to be energy efficient (perhaps also too large to fit our budget), we still may be able to incorporate some features of the garden exhibits in our own little garden art-plots by our own houses that we may still call a castle no matter how big or small that greater Dallas home may be. I hope you enjoy these picture I took during my trip to France. On Facebook I have some pictures from Austria and Slovakia too.                                                                                                               Györgyi Szebenyi



The following information is compiled from our April 2012 lecture on butterflies and butterfly gardening.


A little butterfly trivia:

Butterflies are in the order Lepidoptera. This is the second largest group of insects.

Lepidoptera contains about 165,000 different species of which 20,000 are butterflies and the remaining 145,000 are moths.

The word Lepidoptera comes from the Greek meaning scale-winged. Butterflies and moths have thousands of tiny, brilliantly-colored scales covering their wings.

The greatest diversity of Lepidopterans is found in the tropics.

Butterflies got there name from European farmers who called them butter colored flies.

As we know they come in all sizes and colors other than yellow. The tiny Pigmy Blue of North America is hardly more than .5 inches across while the Papua New Guinea’s Queen Alexandra Birdwing measures 11 inches wingtip to wingtip.

More than 200 species of butterflies migrate.

Lepidoptera fossils date back as far as 30 million years.