The wildflower meadow gardens at the Lamoille County Nature Center were created to serve as an educational resource for the people of Lamoille County and Vermont, a place where one can identify by name, and learn about, many of New England’s showiest wildflowers.

Late season has its delights. Just about the time when fall foliage ignites the landscape in northern Vermont, flocks of monarch butterflies converge on the many asters, then in peak bloom in the meadow.

They arrive by late morning and feast throughout the day, until the sun sets and the air begins to chill.  By that time of year, summer sparrows, warblers and thrushes have departed for their southern homelands.

In their absence, the silence of an autumn evening is broken only by the chirping of crickets and the rush of wind through nearby tree branches.

The gardens also provide sustenance to a variety of wildlife, including numerous species of birds, butterflies, bees and other insects.  For the many creatures that live in the meadow gardens, mid-day in mid-summer is “rush hour.”

Fritillary, admiral and tortoise-shell butterflies fly rapidly from bloom to bloom, nectaring on knapweed and bergamot flowers.  The hot, mid-summer air is abuzz with the droning of bees, which join the butterflies in busy pursuit of nectar, while dragon flies patrol the airways overhead in search of prey.

American goldfinches fly quickly in and out to snatch newly-ripened seeds from the spent heads of knapweeds, while a pair of ruby-throated hummingbirds hover effortlessly about the bergamot and cardinal flower in their quest for nectar.

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