- Associated Press - Friday, May 26, 2017

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - A teak wood bench sits on the edge of the butterfly garden at Dillon Nature Center where dill and parsley blend with milkweed, purple spiderwort and bee balm.

The garden was recently created in loving memory of the butterfly lady - Imogene Hall.

A big supporter of the nature center, Imogene died April 5, 2016.

The Hutchinson News (https://bit.ly/2qh37tn ) reported that for a number of years, she also put a lot of time and energy into raising butterflies from caterpillars. She began with the tiny speck of an egg found in her backyard on parsley leaves or dill plants.

She put them in a special container until they grew into caterpillars. From there she would place them into individual glass jars where, after 10 days, the caterpillars grew chubby before going into chrysalis for another 10 days. She would always welcome children on her porch to explain the process of evolving into a butterfly.

Imogene also shared caterpillars and the special leaves where they lay their eggs with teachers to use in their classrooms.

After her death, one of her memorials was to Dillon Nature Center. This spring, a butterfly garden was established in honor of Imogene.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Richard Hall, Imogene’s husband. Since the garden was completed, he has spent time sitting and reflecting in the garden area just south of the visitor center.

“The last time I was there I saw all kinds of butterflies,” Richard said. “They were really pretty butterflies and I thought of Imogene. This is a wonderful tribute and she would be very honored and humbled.”

Included in the garden is a tall sign, with Imogene’s picture and information regarding the types of butterflies that might be spotted in the garden, such as Gulf Fritillary and black swallowtail. There are pictures so people can identify what they are seeing in the garden. It’s as if Imogene continues to offer lessons on the butterfly.

On Monday morning, Mary Clark, superintendent of Dillon Nature Center, was putting out cut-up strawberries for the butterflies.

Imogene loved butterflies, that was her passion and we were the recipients of her memorial when she passed away,” Clark said.

The newly established garden is arranged with lower growing plants in the front row, so that visitors will be able to see the caterpillars as they rest on the leaves of the plants.

“Mary designed the whole thing and did an awesome job selecting the flowers and suggesting a location,” Richard said.

On a spring day while Clark was planting there was just one monarch butterfly fluttering about. It appeared it wanted to watch what Clark was doing.

“It was a beautiful monarch,” Clark said. “And I thought: It’s Imogene.”

___

Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, https://www.hutchnews.com

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