Butterfly Garden Opens, Thanks to the Morrisseys

Participating in the Butterfly Garden ribbon cutting were (left to right) Cindy Simon, Tracey Price, Colleen Morrissey, Audrey Price and Jim Kirtley.
Photo: RICH SCHMITT

Cindy Simon’s daughter-in-law and grandchild came for the ribbon cutting.
Photo: RICH SCHMITT

A ribbon cutting was held on April 5 for the opening of a butterfly garden in Simon Meadow, located at the corner of Temescal Canyon Road and Sunset Boulevard.

Cindy Simon, who served as emcee explained that when Colleen Morrissey attended the ribbon cutting for Pali Path last year, she was so impressed with the simple beauty that she sought out YMCA Executive Director Jim Kirtley. (Pali Path is a quarter of mile walking path, situated between the hillside and the grassy meadow, open for people to take an easy walk and to appreciate nature.)

“Jim, I’d like to contribute to the beauty of this place,” Morrissey said, and made a $10,000 donation to be used for beautification.

Simon said, “We were ecstatic,” and explained that Colleen’s home in the Huntington Palisades is considered by many to be the Arboretum of the Palisades – with roses, fruit trees and tall sycamores.

After some consideration, “We hit upon the idea of a butterfly garden,” Simon said.

A large eucalyptus had toppled in the site next to a nature walk “The Winding Way” and using that space seemed like the perfect location for the new attraction.

Tracey Price, a co-owner of a landscape company American Growers with her husband David Price, was consulted.

Simon explained that “Tracey basically took four acres of “misha-masha” and created this oasis of natural beauty, Pali Path.”

After some thought, Tracey came up with a design, found boulders and a plumber and then planted: California Poppy, Mimulus Eleanor, Ceanothus Dark Star, Salvia ‘Apiana’, Salvia ‘Dara’s Choice,’ Calliandra californica, Achilles millefolium ‘Sonoma Coast’ and Arctostaphylus ‘Howard McMinn.’

She was asked about planting milkweed, since monarch caterpillars feed on it exclusively. Tracey said, “I’m trying to locate the California native Narrow Leaf Milkweed to plant.”

She explained that tropical milkweed, which some here have planted is not good, because it lasts longer, and monarchs then don’t make the normal fall migration to Mexico. Tracey said some had been planted by the Bel Air Bay Club, but had been taken out once it was recognized as not beneficial.

Since the meadow is open to kids’ summer camp and numerous sporting activities during the school year, the next concern was how to put an attractive barrier around the garden, so that kids could view it, but not “over love it.”

“As if the good lord above was listening to us,” Simon said, another tree toppled.

Although the tree fell, some of its roots were still in the ground. After an inspection Tracey was able to save some of it. Of the part that had fallen to the ground, she was able to use those branches to form a protective fence around the new garden.

A butterfly garden fence is made from a fallen tree’s branches.
Photo: RICH SCHMITT

At the ribbon cutting, there were handmade origami butterflies fluttering from several of the structures. They were made by Dorothy Miyake, who lives in the building above Simon Meadow.

“Thank you, Colleen, for this gift,” Simon said. “Thank you, Tracey, for your artistic vision and implementation.

“Thank you, Dorothy, for the décor,” she said, and added “Thank you Jim for your ‘Let’s Do It!’ attitude.”

 

Birdhouses decorate Winding Way in Simon Meadow.
Photo: RICH SCHMITT

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2 Responses to Butterfly Garden Opens, Thanks to the Morrisseys

  1. J Permaul says:

    What a breath of fresh air to learn of the generosity and creativity of the many parties named in the article, FOR THE COMUNITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, rather than the seemingly unending self interest and ugliness that we see around us and around the world. Thank you.

  2. Gail Wirth says:

    What a beautiful addition to an already charming little corner of Simon Meadow!
    I love taking my grandsons here! Thanks to all !

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