Let’s Join in The Song for the Butterflies


”  “If the forest is gone, people will also end,” says Ajareaty Waiapi, a female chief and grandmother working to preserve her community — and the planet’s lungs.



“And in spite of the ongoing threats from the outside world, she teaches them to celebrate, to sing and to dance.



“At a festive party one afternoon, she rallies the women of her village to gather in a line, holding hands, teaching them a song that has been passed on for generations.



”  “We are singing for the butterfly,” Nazaré said.



“According to Waiapi legend, butterflies are constantly flying around tying invisible strings that hold the planet in place.

“If we don’t take care of the butterflies and their home,” she says, “they will not be happy and will stop working, causing the earth to fall.”



Teresa Tomassoni from:  The Amazon’s best hope? A female indigenous chief is on a mission to save Brazil’s forests”  (NBC News 8.25.2019)



“We are all butterflies
Earth is our chrysalis.”
LeeAnn Taylor



Photos by Woodland Gnome 2019


About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

10 responses to “Let’s Join in The Song for the Butterflies

  1. Since the mid 1980s, I have enjoyed going to Los Angeles to plant street trees every winter. I happen to like as many trees as possible in Los Angeles and San Jose. Trees make the urban landscape more comfortable. However, what people do not realize is that such urban forestry is very unnatural for both cites. San Jose is naturally a chaparral, and Los Angeles is naturally a desert. An absence of most trees that are there now would be more like what is natural. I don’t like to think about it.

    • Trees literally change the weather, don’t they? They filter the air, increase humidity, cool things off with their shade, and green the desert. Which trees are most popular as street trees in LA?

      • Oh, that is hard to say. It really depends on when the neighborhoods were developed (and what was fashionable at the time), and what they style of the neighborhood is. In Mid City, we planted MANY California sycamores and a few species of Eucalyptus. California sycamore eventually gets huge, but is quite resilient. (It is the only native tree we use.) Because almost all of the original trees were gone, we could plant whatever we wanted to. We try to avoid the micro trees like crape myrtle, but those are the most common street tree planted by those who don’t know better on narrow streets. They have minimal problems, but they really don’t do much. Tipu trees have worked out very well, even though they had not been popular as street trees before. Sadly, some of the best street trees that were planted a century ago are not being replaced with anything so stately. For example deodar cedar (which I never would have guessed would have made a good street tree) were planted in Hancock Park a very long time ago, and are very elegant now. However, when then must be removed, they get replaced with worthless crape myrtles that will not get big enough to provide any shade. The big stately Canary Island palms that are succumbing to pink rot and old age are getting replaced with common and relatively scrawny date palms. It is a completely different look. The best palm street was Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills, just north of downtown. It is the street that the Beverly Hillbillies drive down at the beginning of their show. Those trees have been dying since the 1980s, and getting replaced with a cheap mix of random palms. The uniformity is what made that group so elegant. The Ficus (microcarpa ‘Nitida’) that were planted in the 1970s are really bad street trees with their wickedly buttressing roots, but we do try to salvage them where possible. They are so lush and green.

        • Fascinating. I really love the look, feel and fragrance of the deodar cedar, but I think of them as specimen trees rather than street trees. What a beautiful sight they must be planted as street trees, if the neighborhood has space for that. A crape myrtle is completely different. A shame they couldn’t at least have chosen another larger evergreen. City planners in Norfolk, VA, chose crape myrtles as their street trees decades ago. They grew their own and planted beautiful matched plantings so all of the trees in view on a single street are the same color, size, etc As those trees have failed, it is nearly impossible to duplicate the effect. But having grown accustomed to those, I am annoyed by mixed plantings of crapes in other communities, where there are various varieties planted and no consistency. Crapes are either really good or sadly bad.
          Did you read about the rust, vectored by leaf hoppers, killing the stately palms across FL? Apparently it is a tremendous problem with the disease spreading. I wonder how disease resistant the replacement palms used in LA might be? What a wonderful way to spend the winter, Tony. I believe that planting more trees is a tremendous help with stabilizing the climate, as well as filtering and purifying urban air.

          • I would not have thought that deodar cedars would be all that great either, just because they look so silly if pruned up for adequate clearance. Yet, I find, that rows of mature trees flaking a suburban street are quite impressive. They stay lower on the sidewalk side for a while. They are mostly in neighborhoods where the parkstrips are quite wide, so that the street sides of the trees do not need to be elevated right away.
            The palms that started dying in great numbers in the late 1980s were mostly succumbing to pink rot spread by the saws of those pruning them. (The ‘pineapple’ cut was trendy for the formerly overgrown Canary Island date palms back then.) However, the trees are naturally susceptible to any disease that comes along because they are just too old. Their deaths are sort of natural in that regard. It would be nice if such conformity could be replicated in newer neighborhoods, but that has not been the style for many decades. Besides, no one would put that much effort into it.
            I do not spend the winter planting trees there, but only one day, sometime around January 18, which is Brent’s birthday (my old colleague). We started doing it in college, and will likely always continue it. He is a landscape designer, but I am a nurseryman; so I would like to grow more of our own trees. Some of our first trees were unmarketable ‘seconds’ from my nursery production.

  2. What a fun post and lovely photos. I’m enjoying butterflies in my gardens as well. I hate to see it ending.

    • They are such beauties, and abundant this year! Someone this morning was just remarking on how many more Monarchs we have this year than some. I hope you clicked through to the article- just amazing work. ❤

  3. Your photographs are stunning and I love the Waiapi legend. Thank you for sharing.

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