Barbie and Butterflies at the Albany Library

New displays at the Albany Library. Christina Van Horn presents: "Say Hello to Barbie!" Heidi Rand shows her original butterfly photographs and artwork.

Together again for the first time! Christina Van Horn, creator of the amazing Barbie Display - last spotted in October in the , and I with an expanded version of the butterfly display I had there in June, have teamed up and taken our combined show on the road - actually just a few miles down San Pablo Avenue to the Albany Library. Our displays will be there throughout December.

Christina's "Say Hello to Barbie!" is a loving tribute to an icon, a playful and creative reminder for us to reach back to that part of ourselves that we may have packed away when we put our toys and dolls aside. The power of Barbie to evoke emotions was evident when several people stopped to share their memories of the dolls as we were putting the display up.

Christina has dressed and accessorized seven Barbies from a range of years. The variety of the garments in which Christina chose to dress the Barbies is amazing. And check out the great hairstyles! Christina even constructed and sewed the sumptuous bed and bedding in which 'middle-aged' Barbie lies, reading. She also describes Barbie's history, and discusses her impact, including citing controversies, which, she notes, often involve parodies of Barbie and her 'lifestyles.'

One of my aims for my part of the display is to show people that they can garden to attract and nurture butterflies in their gardens. Along with some of my photos of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and of the anise swallowtail butterflyand my artwork and crafts from my butterfly photos, I've put together lists with information about local butterflies, their food sources and helpful plants. I'm attaching the lists to this post as PDFs for you to read and print out for your own use. If you want to copy them for any other use, please contact me for permission.

It's great timing to have the display in Albany right now - the to the shelter of the eucalyptus trees on Albany Hill. The photograph you see of monarchs clustering is one I took two weeks ago on the Hill. 


The pdfs are also attached to this post as it appears on my blog.

First is a partial list of Bay Area butterflies, with my photographs of a few of the butterflies:

Bay Area Butterflies

Second, a partial list of larval host plants for local butterflies:

Gardening to Attract Butterflies: Larval Hosts

These are the most critical plants, because the butterflies need them to lay their eggs on. When the eggs hatch, they eat the plant to survive until they change into chrysalises. 

Third, nectar plants for butterflies:

Bay Area Butterfly Nectar Plants

This is also a partial list to give you some ideas about what you can plant to provide nectar for Bay Area butterflies. Most adult butterflies feed on flower nectar. Not all flowers provide nectar, so if you really want to help the butterflies, try to include as many nectar-providing plants as possible. The butterflies will waste energy visiting flowers that don't provide nectar. And of course butterflies are great pollinators, and as they feed on the nectar they carry pollen from previously visited flowers. 

George also wrote a wonderful description of the evolution of our garden and yard into a wildlife habitat:

Killing our lawn, by George McRae

If you have any questions about Barbie or butterflies, just let Christina, George, and me know in the comments.  We hope you can make it to the display!

If you'd like to read other posts in my blog, here's the link.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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