Desperately Seeking Swallowtails
While doing some weeding the other day, I was pleased to see a Black Swallowtail butterfly – the first one I’ve seen in our own garden this year.
It’s not an exaggeration to say we’ve laid out the welcome mat for the Black Swallowtails. Not only does our yard have an abundance of nectar plants throughout the growing season, but we’ve got lots of the host plants utilized by their caterpillars.
There’s loads of parsley (Petroselinum crispum) growing in the ground and in pots. I’ve got six foot tall Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) that’s threatening to take over the whole Herb Garden. I would have Dill (Anethum graveolens), but it’s always eaten by the Hoppity Evil Ones, the Cotton-Tailed Destroyers of Worlds.
Anyway, we do have Black Swallowtail caterpillars. I haven’t actually seen them this year, but I’ve seen the aftermath of their snack attacks.
We haven’t seen any Eastern Tiger Swallowtails this year, though we have seen them in the past. This spring I planted two native ‘Schubert’ wild cherries (Prunus virginiana). Prunus is one of quite a few genera that serve as host plants for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, including Willows (Salix), Birch (Betula), and Cottonwood (Populus).
After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, I finally got a host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail established: Dutchmans Pipevine (Aristolochia macrophylla). This is the first year it’s gotten to a significant size. I’m trying to grow it up a snag I’ve attached to the back fence.
We’ve never seen any Pipevine Swallowtails, but I hope that changes.
Another Swallowtail I’ve never seen is the Spicebush Swallowtail. This despite the fact that I’ve had several Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) for seven years at least. Spicebush is a gardenworthy shrub whether the Spicebush Swallowtails show up or not. However, I must admit to feeling a little hurt by their neglect. At least the Black Swallowtails don’t ignore us.
Fortunately, none of these Swallowtails are at risk, but I do wonder why we don’t see more of them in the garden.
Are you seeing many Swallowtails these days?