…that’s all I seem to post about these days. Actually, I never intended this to be another “ooo look at my gratuitous pretty pictures” garden journal, but today I will depart from that. The butterfly peas have started blooming. I never had them before, but I really liked the flower colour, which ranges from purple to blue. A true blue is relatively uncommon in plants. They’re called butterfly peas because some people think the blossoms resemble butterflies. Many people think the blooms resemble something else, thus justifying the generic name Clitoria (C. ternatea in this case).
I swear I got the seeds for the flower colour, I promise. They’re used to make food colouring in Southeast Asia.
In other news, in a previous post I mentioned that I doubted there would be any Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio polyxenes) in the garden this year, and was surprised to find a caterpillar on one of the dill (Anethum graveolens) plants. This just goes to show that I know squat about how mother butterflies think. Following a hunch, I inspected the three dill plants and found that the rattiest, tattiest, smallest, least lush of the three was swarming (relatively speaking) with EBS caterpillars and eggs.
This is rather odd. Normally, mother butterflies are very picky about where they lay eggs and how many; after all, they want to give their offspring the best chances possible, with good food and lots of it. I can only surmise that the preferred EBS host plants are in desperately short supply in the neighbourhood.
Enough prattling. I now have several EBS caterpillars and eggs in care. But first…
The monarch caterpillar on Day 16. It’s nearly two inches long now, not including the antennae, and it’s a little eating machine. It can mow down an entire leaf in fifteen minutes or less, depending on size (that’s a conservative estimate). I remember sometimes running out to the garden in literally the middle of the night to gather more food in past years.
And just to be pedantically educational, here are the two EBS eggs I found today. Both are laid on dill flower heads, with the flowers being past bloom and starting to set seed. The eggs are showing similar colour developments to the monarch’s: the egg on the right (the little yellow-brown sphere) is newly laid, while the egg on the left (the black sphere) is just a short time from hatching.
In fact, the egg has hatched and the caterpillar eaten the shell and moved on in the seven and a half hours since I took that picture. This now means seven EBS caterpillars and one egg, in addition to four monarch caterpillars in various stages of development.