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This second medium scale print celebrates the migratory Monarch butterfly whose larval food-plants, the milkweeds, have been depleted to critically low levels by herbicides. The population of monarchs that spends its summers in the Carolinas, undertakes an incredible multi-generational migration every year to forests in Mexico where they overwinter. Plants like echinacea provide them with rich sources of nectar for this journey. As well as Echinacea purpurea, the most common of the coneflowers, this design features Echinacea leavigata, an endangered coneflower native to North Carolina.
Mercia Bees is a smaller scale print in the English Mercia collection, with a 6'' horizontal half drop repeat. It features the short-haired bumblebee, a species driven to extinction in England, but recently reintroduced into specially planted flower-rich meadows in the region of Dungeness. The bees are foraging on clover, and pheasant's eye, a rare wildflower introduced to the UK in Roman times.
This pattern shows English species suggested to me by the imaginary species in Dr Suess's The Lorax. It is organised in an ogee pattern, made of ribbons. They remind me of the double helix of the DNA that determines how we all turn out, every living thing, and of chain link fences, and breaking through them to get out into nature. Some of the Lorax creatures, and my English wild equivalents: Humming fish = great crested newts Swomee swans = nightingales for their beautiful song Truffula trees = clover for the shape and English oaks for their ecological role supporting more other species than any other tree Brown barbaloots = at first I used the silhouettes of European brown bears representing their extinction in the British Isles about 1000 years ago, but that was all a bit tragic. Then I decided to replace them with wonderful playful red squirrels in this design Great great grandfather snail = lagoon spire snail (thought extinct, but recently found in Chichester harbour) Smallish bees = short-haired bumblebees, once extinct in the UK but now reintroduced into Kent