I have to admit, August isn’t my favorite month in the garden. The squash and green beans that were so lush and productive in June and July are have given in to bugs and powdery mildew. The flowers that looked so perky and perfectly mounded in the spring and early summer are now overgrown and straggly. No amount of cutting back seems to bring back that spring-time vigor.

But all of that doesn’t keep me from going out to the gardens. There are still plenty of zinnias to pick, and a few tomatoes that have escaped the nibbles of deer. And the other day, when I went to see what produce I could scrounge from my mid-August garden, I found my flowers alive with butterflies. It was the most I’d ever seen in one place. I only have about a two-foot line of zinnias out at the vegetable garden, and I counted seven butterflies there at one time. They were so intent on getting the nectar from the flowers some of them didn’t even move when I came near them. A few would fly up and away only to come back and light on another flower.

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Watching those butterflies made me happy. There are many reasons why gardening is touted as a good activity for stress relief, and the connection to nature is one of the biggest. It’s so peaceful to watch the butterflies at work, collecting nectar. And so beautiful, with their colorful wings flittering against a background of colorful flowers.

Here I was, thinking it was the ugly stage of the garden, when I was overcome with beauty. If you look for it, there’s beauty in every stage. The colorful leaves of the fall, the stark limbs of shrubs in the winter, each season has its highlights. Thinking of the garden is peaceful in so many ways, but it also brings peace when you realize that just like the garden, life itself is beautiful at every stage. So many articles and blogs write about the fleeting moments of early childhood, and how that time is gone before you know it. It is. But then the next stage comes, and the next. And each is beautiful, fun and awe-inspiring in its own right.

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