Later, when the afternoon throws out a quilt of clouds, I transplant lupine and columbine, peonies and milk thistle, butterfly weed and lungwort. The butterfly weed is tiny, and my deepest hope, though I did buy four of them for insurance. I have been wonderstruck by their vivid beacon of orange flowers from the moment I first saw them, years ago, blooming in the far-off edge of a field. I tell Renee that these tiny plants will grow up to feed butterflies, and this is immensely satisfying for her. She calls herself “Butterfly Girl,” which makes me “Butterfly Mommy” by default. She helps me tamp down the earth around the sturdier transplants, then she sprinkles compost in a ritualistic fashion over the whole circle of plants. I’m sure the plants are pleased, but I am nervous that she will crush my tiny hopes with her happy feet. So we get skewers and make tiny cages around the baby butterfly weed, as protection against paws and pink-socked toes. Then Renee sings to our plants some more, as we dip again the jar into the bucket of cool water, just in case it doesn’t rain. We water our tiny hopes with song, and bless the earth with holy compost.
Here’s a pic of the wild butterfly weed, also known as pleurisy root.