Craving more spring in your step than Mother Nature is providing these days? Head to the Botanical Gardens, within the east end’s kid-tastic Montreal Space For Life, where the temperatures are balmy and the smells sweetly floral. There’s added magic in the greenhouses these days thanks to Butterflies Go Free: an annual spring ritual that releases thousands of butterflies and moths from all over the world into the Main Exhibition Greenhouse. They float, flutter and flock all around visitors like living confetti…
This edition of the Butterflies Go Free is dedicated to the chrysalis, that fascinating and still relatively mysterious process of transformation from the caterpillar to the butterfly. While for some species it’s a relatively short process, lasting days, for others it can take up to months, if not years.
The Botanical Gardens has imported thousands upon thousands of species of chrysalises on the cusp of transforming from places as far as Costa Rica and China, and has installed them among their tropical plants to, as it were, spread their wings.
At various spots on the greenhouse paths, large glass cases unite dozens of uniquely shaped chrysalises (each species has its own design) still waiting for their time in the sun. But animating the large space with joyful energy are these guys’ older siblings: there are giant White Morphos so big they’re like flying sheets of Kleenex, delicate Blue Morphos that are as iridescent as an oil slick, majestic ochre and black Monarchs and every other size and colour of the rainbow.
The butterflies have no fear at all, often choosing your arm (or even face!) as an interesting place to land for a while. The effect is pure springtime fantasy.
Butterflies Go Free, until April 27, 2014
Photos credits: © Eva Blue
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