Miniature marvels: Tiny critters call botanical gardens home

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There’s a whole other world of critters living at the Wilson Botanical Gardens.

Butterflies don’t update their Facebook status when they flit from the cone flowers to the rosemary blossoms.

Grasshoppers don’t check their email before making a meal out of their next leaf.

Honeybees don’t text “otw” when they have gathered enough pollen to head back to the hive.

And for sure, bumblebee moths and a bumblebees won’t pause pollination to make selfies when they discover that they have worn the same outfits to work, again.

Visitors just have to change their mindset and slow their pace to appreciate what is going on in a world where the inhabitants aren’t broken down into binary code. Yes, there are places like that!

“When you come to the gardens, you want to use all of your senses; so you should be listening. Right now I am hearing water and I am hearing a frog and I am hearing a breeze through the grasses that are around me. Obviously, visually I am seeing a lot of things and different colors and shades of green. You can feel the leaves,” said Cyndi Lauderdale, executive director of Wilson Botanical Gardens.

To notice, one has to stop, be still and scan with the eyes.

A magnifier is a great tool to use for getting in close as well as binoculars.

Capturing images of insects, spiders and caterpillars with a camera can be a challenge.

To do so, movements have to be ultra slow, almost frozen. Sudden movements will easily scare the most interesting subjects away.

Whether taking pictures or just simple observing, there is much reward in taking a closer look at the small things people otherwise might typically ignore.

“If you are here for 15 minutes, you can lower your blood pressure,” Lauderdale said. “That is always good for everybody, and you can reduce some stress.”

The gardens are currently in a transition where much of the spring bloom has happened and the summer bloom is coming on.

“To our photographers, we do encourage you to fill out a comment card and drop it in the comment box, and we would love if you would share your photos with us on Facebook and give you a shout-out,” Lauderdale said. “The plants are here to enjoy. Try to stay on the path. Try not to pick things and try not to lay on things so the next person that visits can enjoy it as much as you did.”

Visit the Wilson Botanical Gardens at 1806 Goldsboro St. S., beside the Wilson County Agricultural Center.