Monday, December 31, 2007

Weeds and Successful Urban Butterflies

This is the herb garden that I gave to my daughter on December 25th. All those lovely pots AND the ladder came from Urban Ore; it was a great deal! One of the herbs was parsley, which Anise Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars like to eat. But there is so little parsley in the city, we would see hardly any Anise Swallowtails if they depended on this herb. There would also be very few of this butterfly if they depended on their original host, yampah. When the Europeans moved in, they destroyed most of this native plant. But they also brought with them that common weed, fennel, which the butterflies learned to use. Anise Swallowtails are one of those butterflies that has learned to live in cities because it thrives on weeds. Many other butterflies have made this switch; West Coast Ladies, Red Admirals, and Common Buckeyes, to name a few. So, be thankful for the weeds; their tenacity means that there is plenty of food for the caterpillars.

Now for the Pay It Forward. This idea is taken from Celia's blog ( )Is anyone reading my blog? I am giving away plants, larval host plants, to be exact, to the first three people to make a comment on my blog. If you live close by, you can come by and pick up a plant. If you live far away, I will send seeds. I will have to grow the plants, so it will take awhile, but it will happen this year. Also, this contest will be for this year only. If I don't get three comments this year, the contest will be over. Good Luck!