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Butterflies, bees, and frogs

Butterflies, bees, and frogs

Spring is in full swing on our 65-acre estate in Upstate New York. The trees are budding, the tulips and daffodils are blooming, and even our smallest creatures—the butterflies, bees and frogs—are active again, ready to play their roles in our farm ecosystem.

We also find inspiration in the beauty and whimsy of these creatures, which is why you see so many of them on our products. For example, we have the Queen Bee Pillow, the Butterfly Accent Chest, and the Frog Dinner Bell.

Here’s a look at the role that each group plays and some of the products they have inspired:


Frogs are so important to our farm that we added about 200 frogs and tadpoles to our pond a few years ago, says Corinne Bowman, our estate manager. The most notable result of this is there’s a virtual symphony of sounds that comes from the pond, something that those who camp out for the opening of our annual Barn Sale often note, Corinne says.

Frogs and toads play a central role in the food chain. They consume insects and are a food source for birds, snakes, and other animals. Frogs can secrete substances through their skin, too, and some secretions are beneficial and have been used to create new antibiotics and painkillers.

And did you know that May 13 is National Frog Jumping Day? An informal holiday celebrated around the country, it was inspired by Mark Twain’s first published short story, Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog. Later, Twain changed the name of the story and published it as The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. The current frog jumping record, by the way, was set in 1986 by Rosie the Ribeter, who jumped 21 feet 5¾ inches.

Frog products

  • Frog Tassel: A handcrafted ceramic finial features a regal polliwog perched atop a signature knob, hung with fringe of black and white, moss-green velvet swags, and a punch-pink ruff.
  • Courtly Check Frog on  Lidded Dish: Capturing all the charm of the prince of the pond, our handcrafted ceramic Courtly Check® Frog  sits atop a blossom-shaped lidded box bedecked in our signature checks.
  • Frog Entrance Mat: Delight your guests the same way our amphibian ambassadors enchant ours. This durable coir mat features our signature checks framing a ribbiting regent with friends all aflutter.

Bees and butterflies

Bees and butterflies are pollinators, seeking pollen and nectar from flowers to power their flight and nourish their offspring. By transferring pollen, a process known as pollination, they also help plants and trees produce seeds and fruit and reproduce.

To ensure an abundance of bees and butterflies in the garden, it’s important to provide a diversity of flowering plants that bloom throughout the growing season, from early spring to late fall. Look, too, for a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Make the garden more attractive to pollinators by clustering species of plants into clumps rather than scattering individual plants throughout a garden. Don’t forget about flowering trees and shrubs, which offer food as well as shelter.

Corinne has got all this covered in our gardens, which, in addition to flowering trees and shrubs, have an abundance of flowers from spring bulbs and annuals (marigolds and impatiens) to summer perennials (monarda and echinacea) and fall favorites (asters and sedum).

Bee and butterfly products

Thistle & Bee Dinnerware Collection: There’s been quite a buzz about our take on formal servingware. Handcrafted in Portugal, the porcelain pieces are trimmed in gold lustre and feature a verdant suite of early-spring wildflowers, bumblebees, and classic MacKenzie-Childs patterns.

Courtly Check Butterfly: Our favorite dinnerware pattern takes a flight of fancy on this exquisitely detailed butterfly, featuring a transfer decoration of our signature checks on its gold-edged wings and more floral transfers on its body, topped with wire antennae. A keyhole hanger on the back allows it to attach securely to the wall. Arrange it solo or in a grouping with our other butterflies.

Honeycomb Footstool: Combine a little French flair with a bold yellow, grey, and black color palette, and you’ve got a piece that’s fit for royalty. Part of our Queen Bee collection, it’s buzzing with details like velvet and silk fabric and hand-painted feet. While the lady of the house might not wear a crown, she’ll enjoy lounging in luxury when she places this piece in a sitting room or home office.


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