Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Caterpillar Compliment

Every year in late spring I begin searching my rue, curly parsley, and fennel for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. Every time I find one, I feel blessed. That may seem cliche, but it's true. Caterpillar compliments are always my favorite. 


Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars in different stages of development in the smokey fennel. I counted ten caterpillars. Smokey fennel can be found in the herb section of  most garden centers and is usually very inexpensive.



This is my NanoFarm where I'm growing the fennel, tomatoes, ground cherries, carrots, and sweet potatoes. My sweet potato slips haven't come yet so a few pots are still empty. The carrots have sprouted but aren't in this picture. Birdhouses hang from the shepherd's crooks. The giant shrub in the background is a Rose of Sharon.


My sunny-side bed in the late afternoon light. This picture was taken from the dry river bed garden which was just added in April. Only part of the river bed garden is visible in this photo and the new plants are still tiny.

13 comments:

  1. Haven't seen any cats yet in the fennel and parsley. Not sure if I'm going to plant sweet potatoes this year.

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  2. I've heard fennel reseeds around a lot. Has that been the case for you? I'd like to add some in my butterfly garden, but am wary about introducing something thugish.

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  3. Wow 10 caterpillars! I feel the same way every time I see caterpillars on host plants. Today I found two variegated fritillary caterpillars on my violas. So excited! I have had a hard time finding fennel this year. Lots of dill but no fennel.

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  4. It amazed me how the caterpillars just showed up the first time I planted fennel. Where had they been waiting all the years before? They appeared right away! And when I planted little sassafras saplings, there they were, the funny looking swallowtail caterpillars just weeks after I put the trees in the ground.

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  5. You must have the welcome sign up for those caterpillars! Last year I planted a lot of parsley, only the two legged folks ate it.

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  6. It's looking great, TS! That hammock sure looks comfortable. Congrats on the caterpillars and soon to be butterflies!

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  7. I have Bronze Fennel ready to go into the garden soon. The Black Swallowtails loved the flat leaf parsley last year. Your sunny side garden looks lovely!

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  8. How fun! What lovely caterpillars too. They are funny little things. I also love your sunny side bed :-)

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  9. I know exactly what you mean about feeling blessed every time you see a caterpillar. Me too! None so far this year on the dill. Parsley or butterfly weed. Feeling a bit sulky about this but trying to remain optimistic. I'm glad you're finding joy in their appearance.

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  10. 10!! That's great! I haven't seen any in my garden yet. I hope you get some great pictures of swallowtails this year too!

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  11. Thanks for stopping by. Great photos. I tried to leave a comment here the other day but it wouldn't let me. Good ole blogger. I have numerous problems on my blog too. Anyway it reminded me to come back. Wish I had all those caterpillars.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  12. Love the garden. Keep at it. I've had the same issues....each year is different, etc. But it looks great and I love the caterpillars and butterflies.....adding that element into the garden really is a nice touch:) Have a good week!! Chris

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  13. I have only been graced with the presence of a hornworm - singular, so far. I promptly told him how beautiful he was and then chucked him (and the tomato he rode in on) out into the woods. I hope he became some bird's lunch.

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