image of butterfly garden








REALLY! WE STARTED OUR OWN BUTTERFLY GARDEN

We didn't wake up one day and say "Let's start a butterfly garden". It started with me planting flowers in the yard
and noticing an occasional butterfly. My significant other has always liked butterflies, so he did some research on
the internet to see what we could do to increase the population of butterflies around our home

The more we read... the more we became intrigued with the Pipevine Swallowtail. They are a beautiful iridescent
blue with a row of seven orange spots and are becoming rare in this area. They are called Pipevines because that's
the name of the plant the butterflies lay their eggs on and it is the only plant the caterpillars will eat. Those plants
are often hard to get and not all nurseries carry them. We were lucky to find several plants though, some of which
already had a total of 5 caterpillars on them.

WE HAD NO IDEA HOW MUCH THEY WOULD EAT

We immediately sealed off the breezeway to keep the plants inside and protect the caterpillars from wasps, lizards
and frogs and other predators. No one warned us about how much those caterpillars would eat. Within a week, we
were back at the nursery buying two more pipevine plants. The caterpillars will actually eat the plant so far down
it will kill the plant, so we wanted to make sure that didn't happen.

Out of the five original caterpillars, two died of unknown causes, one went MIA and two formed a chrysalis to
eventually become butterflies. Two would be fine to lay new eggs but we really had no way of knowing if they
were male or female or both the same sex.. we just waited to see and hoped that we had a male and female pair.




Further research about the nectar plants told us what the Swallowtail butterflies like to eat, so we stocked up on
hanging Lantanas and Pentas. We also bought a few Porterweeds to insure that we would be prepared when the
butterflies came out of the chrysalis. We did get two beautiful, healthy Swallowtails but alas, both were females.
When we started this project, we had visions of butterlflies flying around us in our little sanctuary while we ate
breakfast or lunch. Well, that didn't happen. Our two females wouldn't even land on the flowers. They just flew
straight to the screen and looked longingly (if butterflies do that) at the outside. We kept the Swallowtails for a
couple of days... even putting the plants closer to them, but they still didn't eat, so we decided to realease them.


HEY! ARE THOSE OUR SWALLOWTAILS VISITING?

Yes, we were kind of sad, but to see those beauties fly up into the air also made us feel very good. Since that day, we
have had several visits by swallowtails and we're guessing that at least a few of them were probably our swallowtails

There will be many more stories for us to tell you about all the beautiful and interesting butterflies... so please visit
often to enjoy the continuing saga of the Swallowtails and the expanded family of Monarchs and Sulphur butterflies.
-Cynthia


















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