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It’s been a rainy day here today, which means it’s been a lazy day here today, garden-wise. I don’t place much faith in rain forecasts unless they predict at least a 90% PoP (possibility of precipitation)…which they did for today, so yesterday there was a mad scramble to get stuff done.

Last year I blogged about some caterpillars I raised, with pictures at each stage. Yesterday I noticed a couple Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillars out in the garden, which is one of the types I raise. Usually I get them on the carrots (Daucus carota), but this year I was so late starting the carrots that I expected to find them on the dill (Anethum graveolens). So obviously I had to be wrong about that and found them on the rue (Ruta graveolens) instead.

I’m really not sure why I planted rue…I make no use of it, but it’s right in the middle of the other herbs, and the yellow flowers do look nice when the lavender, chives, and sage are in bloom too – all purple flowers. I’m more permissive of volunteer seedlings than I really should be, so the first picture below shows one of the caterpillars on a small rue plant that popped up in the pebble skirt/border around the herb bed. The second picture is a caterpillar on the main plant.EBS 2015 01

EBS 2015 02

The one on the main plant is slightly larger, despite how they look in the pictures. The quadripartite blob at the top of the second picture is a rue seedpod/fruit forming. I don’t think I’ll bring these inside – they’ve obviously managed just fine on their own out in the garden. Now that I know they’re there, however, I might search for a few eggs to raise.

Yesterday I harvested some of the lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). I’d really hoped to be able to pick some elder flowers (Sambucus canadensis) too (for making elder flower wine), but just didn’t have the time, and more rain is forecasted for tomorrow. They were in perfect condition for picking yesterday too. Sigh.

What else…oh yes, the hellebore. I decided to try growing a black-bloomed hellebore this year (Helleborus x hybridus ‘Winter Dreams Black’). It didn’t arrive until May, so it had already flowered, as expected. Sometime after, it sent out some new growth and imagine the surprise when it flowered too. Right now there are two blooms on it; not quite as dark as they should be but I’m not complaining.

Some ‘Black Peony’ poppies whose seeds I simply scattered are starting to blossom. Unlike the ones I had last year, these really are about as dark as they should be, an extremely deep purple. Unlike the supposed ‘Schwartzwalder’ calla lilies, which continue to flower burgundy. Oh well.

And finally, a pair of American robins (Turdus migratorius) had built a nest in the lilac tree (Syringa vulgaris) earlier this year…right in the branch I’d fully intended to remove because it’s hanging too far over the steps. I saw three eggs before, and at least one of them has hatched. This is going to be interesting. Last year a pair nested in the Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and for three weeks after the eggs hatched, I kept getting divebombed.