Monkey Flower

I started working at the butterfly gardens in May. Now, July is coming to an end, meaning the gardens are no longer dirt and gravel but full of growing plants. In the blink of an eye, a grass plot has become a sanctuary for animals and insects, a step closer to increasing biodiversity.

Pictured above is the plot of land where the new garden was built. In this specific picture, my peers and I marked out the pathways and layout of the garden.
This picture was taken recently, displaying the newfound growth of the garden and the new plants. Bonus inclusion: to the top of the image are two birds flying past.

A little back story

For the past couple of weeks, Cicero, the small town where the gardens are, has been receiving lots of rain… maybe a little too much. Flash flood warnings have been issued, basements have flooded, and, unfortunately, many newly planted species in the new garden have been washed away. The recent storms in the area attacked the pathways in the garden, and one garden bed, in particular, was so heavily affected that many plants washed away into the sewers. The group of students I led helped make a pathway to the sewers so that we wouldn’t have to lose plants the next time it rained. Due to the new garden’s location, some of the beds have sewers in the middle of them. We were aware it could be an issue, but I hope that the solution we came up with prevents any more problems with the drain. 

This image shows the damage to one of the garden beds after a bad rainstorm.
This image shows the solution my team and I created to prevent future flooding in the garden beds. The rocks will allow water to head to the sewers, but prevent drastic overflow.
My children (my team) hard at work.

The grass is in fact greener on the other side

At the time, the situation was a little depressing. Everyone felt like the work we had been putting in had been for nothing; that money had gone to waste. Although the rains cost us some plants, they helped the remaining ones. The garden was prospering from one day to the next. Vulnerable plants suddenly were bright green and strong. The growth we saw from the plants was all thanks to the excessive rain. The other day, I was collecting tools that had been left behind in the garden after the program had finished for the day. The day had been long and hot, and I wanted to feel the AC from my house already. Upon reaching one of the garden beds, I scanned for the red and yellow-the color of the shovel’s handles. “Red, Red, Purple, Yellow,” I thought. Upon remembering that we have no purple shovels, it was to my surprise that the purple I had noticed was not, in fact, a tool but instead a flowering plant. The first flowering plant since creating the new garden was: Monkey Flower. Mimulus Ringes is the scientific name of this plant. While it comes in various colors, the ones we planted in the garden are purple. They get their name because the flower’s petals arrange themselves so that they look like the face of a monkey. My friend, Vicky, has been constantly admiring this plant. Its silly name made her fond of it, and it’s pretty cool that this was the first plant to bloom. It brings some truth when people say that admiring and caring for your flowers makes them last longer. I think her constant admiration for Monkey Flower made it bloom. Seeing the flower totally made up for the long day and the continuous rain. I hope the rest of the plants begin to bloom soon 🙂

Here is the Monkey Flower that bloomed in our new garden 🙂
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