Monday, June 20, 2016

Benefits of Being a Lazy Gardener

I've be feeling a bit guilty about letting our edible garden go to seed and weed.   About 10 days ago, I noticed that anywhere from 25 - 50 Great Southern White butterflies have taken up residence in the garden.   The only flowers out there are artichoke (yep, I never bothered to harvest the chokes) and rosemary, so I don't have any idea what they are feeding (nectaring) on . . . .      Every night, most of them, including the one pictured on the right,  bed down in a large planting of canna lilies.  

I did  read that cruciferous vegetables are host plants for this butterfly.   But most cruciferous vegetables are a winter crop in my Southern garden.   The pretty little butterflies seem pretty indiscriminate about which plants they hang out near and light on -  the artichoke, asparagus, bolting kale, fennel, along with grass weeds that have gone to seed  . . .   My fear of removing what has attracted them led me to not pull or trim one single horrible looking plant.   This afternoon, when I went out to cut a kale leaf for a smoothie, the kale was covered in caterpillars!  

A quick google search verified that these are indeed Southern Great White butterfly larvae!    If you want to see the entire life cycle, visit this post by the Dauphins, a couple of butterfly experts in south Texas.   They captured every detail in some fabulous photos!   The chrysalis isn't as pretty as some, but I will be on the search for them in a day or two.  

If your schedule - or the Texas heat - keeps you from keeping your garden as tidy as you'd like, don't despair.   You may get to play host to some lovely little creatures, too!  

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