Sunday, July 25, 2010
Butterflies and fairies
The butterflies are really busy ....this the 4th week of mid-summer. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Zebra Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Pipevine Swallowtail and the Eastern Black Swallowtail are hopping from plant to plant. By my calculations they appear around 10:00am (they must be warm) or so...working up till dark.
I have also seen a Painted Lady...which in flight I almost took for a Monarch. Now I swear I've seen 2 Monarchs this past weekend, but they could have been Viceroys, I'm not sure. It's hard to believe that butterflies only live for two or three weeks.
When planting a butterfly garden, it is important to remember two things. You will need host plants where the female will lay her eggs which will need the host plant as food as the eggs hatch and then form chrysalises. Other plants are needed for their favorite food.
Host plants include parsley and aster. I have planted parsley in my garden every year...knowing full well, it will never make it to my kitchen!
Food for the butterflies include butterfly bush (duh..), zinnias, purple coneflower and petunias. I've been known to dig up Butterfly weed and plant it around the farm. Butterfly weed serves as both a host and food plant.
When I was little, my mother used to sing a little ditty about "there are fairies in the bottom of my garden"...so it is only natural that I love fairies and for me to keep an eye out to find one playing in my garden. They are very difficult to catch a glimpse of...as they do not like to be seen...but look, I caught one with my camera playing with my fairy statue. Ha...and they thought I wouldn't notice. (See how she is tickling the foot of the metal fairy???)