"No garden truly blooms until butterflies have danced upon it."
After many years of fund raising and planning along with more than a few unexpected delays, the members of the Bloom & Grow Garden Society have finally welcomed our sweet monarch butterfly, Flora, to downtown Winter Garden.
The monarch butterfly has been synonymous with the Bloom & Grow Garden Society since the club’s inception in 1997. The ethereal, yet mighty monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do. They know when to migrate from environmental clues and use wind currents to fly as far as 3000 miles to their winter homes. Besides the monarch’s determination and strength, it has the capacity to change and grow. These are the qualities that Bloom & Grow members aspire to.
The Monarch Project began as an idea of the 20-Year Committee in the 2017-18 club year to commemorate the Bloom & Grow Garden Society’s 20th anniversary in 2017. It wasn’t until two years later that we finally conceptualized a form and selected an artist. We wanted this regal statue to be a gift from the club to the city of Winter Garden in appreciation for 20 years of help and partnership in making their Spring Fever in the Garden festival so successful.
But, the Monarch Project is not over. During our journey to get this sculpture made, we’ve discovered that the monarchs are endangered. We’ve started a program in area schools to encourage youth to get involved in the Monarch’s plight by providing way stations and information to help the monarchs.
Monarchs are very specific about the plants they prefer for laying their eggs and providing food for their caterpillars. Milkweeds are the plants – preferably the native milkweeds although they will happily engage tropical milkweed too. To encourage the planting of Monarch Waystations, each year the Bloom and Grow Garden Society offers for sale a “Monarch Waystation Package” of plants which includes both milkweed species as well as nectar plants for the butterflies themselves. As these plants are not always readily available, we contract grow them to make the process fun and easy. We hope everyone in Winter Garden will create a Monarch Waystation in at least a section of their home garden. And then we hope they will make the effort to become a nationally certified Monarch Waystation. https://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations/certify.html
Please help us save the monarchs!
The Bloom and Grow Garden Society has extended our commitment to pollinators including the Monarch Butterfly by creating the POLLINATOR POWER project in 2022. This program has a goal of creating and documenting 2500 acres of pollinator habitat in 5 years. Another bold initiative of the Bloom and Grow Garden Society! We’re doing all this with the help of our sponsors, Healthy West
Orange and Orlando Health. If you would like to sponsor our programs or have land that could be planted with Monarch waystations and pollinators, think about joining us in our quest to save the monarch and all pollinators. Email us at: email@example.com
Noted sculptor and artist, Don Reynolds of Sanford (link to bio), was commissioned to bring the gift to life. If you want to see some of Don’s public art in the Central Florida area, check out the iconic cast bronze knight with lance on horseback located outside the main entrance to UCF Bounce House stadium. At Blue Jacket Park in Winter Park, Reynolds designed and sculpted a bronze statue of a woman Navy recruit called “Blue Jacket Recruit”. He also made a large totem sculpture for a Disney event which now resides in Calloway Gardens in Georgia.
Bloom & Grow member, Gretchen Boyd is heading up the Monarch Project. Gretchen is a founding member of the club and its first president. In 1997, she conceived the idea for an area garden club to celebrate gardening and love of nature. Bloom and Grow is now in its 24th year of service to the West Orange area and beyond.
”The Monarch butterfly is a symbol of metamorphosis and represents significant change. The Bloom & Grow Garden Society, the City of Winter Garden, and our festival, Spring Fever in the Garden, have gone through a significant metamorphosis over the past 20 years! The Monarch butterfly also represents the change in our own lives...from birth to our rebirth. This sculpture would not have been possible without the generous support of a member of our garden club and her family in honoring the memory of their mother and father. May we all be like the mighty Monarch and be the change”.
- Gretchen Boyd,
Chairperson. The Monarch Project
Help Our Monarch Fly!
Alex Ramos of Plantation Jewelers, Winter Garden, Florida, was asked by the women of the Bloom & Grow Garden Society to design a sterling silver monarch butterfly pendent. At that time, the Monarch Project was just testing its wings and sculpture could only be seen in artist, Don Reynold's sketched renderings.
Being the craftsman that he is, Alex was able to capture the beauty and intricate nature of the soon to be sculpture. He used sterling silver with shiny and satin finishes to give the design more texture. He bent the wings and positioned the bail on an angle giving it a sense of impending flight. The approximate size of the pendant is 29mm (1 3/8 inches).
And, now, we are thrilled to be able to offer this exclusive piece of art for sale on this website only. The cost for the pendant is $80 including tax with a portion going toward the Monarch Project. Chain is not included. After purchasing, you will be able to pick up your pendant at Plantation Jewelers in downtown Winter Garden.
If you’d like to see it in person before you purchase, go to Plantation Jewelers, 115 W. Plant Street. It will be on display.