The monarch butterfly has been synonymous with the Bloom & Grow Garden Society since the club’s inception in Winter Garden in 1997. The Monarch Project began back in 2017 as a way to commemorate the Bloom & Grow Garden Society’s 20th year. It wasn’t until two years later that they conceptualized a form and selected an artist.
Noted Sculptor and Artist Don Reynolds of Sanford was commissioned to bring the gift to life. Some of Reynold’s acclaimed public art in Central Florida include the iconic cast bronze knight with lance on horseback located outside the main entrance to UCF Bright House Stadium, the bronze statue of a woman Navy Recruit called “Blue Jacket Recruit” in Blue Jacket Park in Winter Park, and a large totem sculpture for a Disney event which now resides in Calloway Gardens in Georgia.
The copper-clad Monarch Sculpture is a gift from the club to the city of Winter Garden in appreciation for 20 years of help and partnership. In early Spring, the sculpture will be placed ascending from a butterflypollinator garden in a new park located beside the splash pad on Plant Street for all who come to charming downtown Winter Garden to enjoy.
”The Monarch butterfly is a symbol of metamorphosis and represents a significant change. Bloom & Grow Garden Society and the City of Winter Garden have gone through a significant metamorphosis over the past 20 years!” said Bloom & Grow member, Gretchen Boyd who is heading up the Monarch Project and is also a founding member of the club and its first President.
The North American Monarch is the only known butterfly to make a two-way migration as birds do, to fly as far as 3,000 miles to their winter homes, which include Central Florida. “Monarchs as pollinators play an important role in maintaining biological diversity and are critical to our environment. Monarch larvae feed almost exclusively on milkweed plants. About 20 or so milkweed species can be found in Florida, and all are native except tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, which should not be planted locally”, said Bruce Turley of PlantRealFlorida.com and the President of the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.
“Besides the monarch’s determination and strength, it has the capacity to change and grow. The Monarch butterfly also represents change the inour own lives. Determination, strength, and change are qualities that Bloom & Grow members aspire to. When it came time to decide on the sculpture, we knew it had to be the monarch butterfly. This sculpture would not have been possible without the generous support of a member of our club and her family in honoring the memory of their Mother and Father... May we all be like the mighty Monarch and represent change and growth”, said Boyd.
Late last fall, Alex Ramos of Plantation Jewelers in Winter Garden was asked by the Bloom & Grow Garden Society to design a sterling silver monarch butterfly pendant. At that time, the Monarch Project was just on pen and paper, as the concept for the sculpture could only be seen in Reynolds’ sketched renderings. Mr. Ramos was able to capture the beauty and intricate nature of the soon to be sculpture. He used polished and satin sterling silver finishes to give the design texture and to provide dimension he bent the wings giving it a sense of impending flight.
The Bloom and Grow Garden Society offer this exclusive piece of art for sale only on their website (https://www.bloomandgrow.club). A portion of the proceeds will go toward the monarch sculpture.