Butterfly Garden. Just the name makes you smile.
It really is almost as if the butterflies were growing out of the tips of the blossoms, delicately fluttering their outrageous wings as they suck the nectar.
The idea is not new, and for some years now books telling how to start your own butterfly garden have been on the market. But the Smithsonian's garden, on the Ninth Street strip east of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), is new this summer. This delightful place was inaugurated earlier this year with the release of many dozens of painted lady butterflies at a spectacular kids' party. Besides 75 Young Associates, practically everyone Smithsonian was there. After all, five different groups and the Smithsonian Women's Committee have had something to do with this magical stretch of garden, a place that will attract an assortment of colorful little winged visitors three seasons of the year.
Naturally, the gardens people were involved. "That area always had lovely flowers," recalls Nancy Bechtol, chief of the Horticulture Services Division, "but it was sort of a catchall. We wanted something more meaningful than just pretty flowers."
Butterflies and gardens had been bouncing around in a number of heads here. Gardening Supervisor Walter Howell even drew up some plans four years ago. Over in the Department of Entomology, the thought had occurred to Don Harvey and Liz Klafter, each of whom pursues the art of butterfly gardening at home. Don's urban garden is on Capitol Hill and Liz's is a more spacious spread out …