Caterpillar Convention And Other Wildlife Contemplation

These guys look like they’re having a good time.

Hanging out, munching on Fennel,

grooving to summer happenings. Summer happenings like the next monthly musing about wildlife in your gardens.

Wildlife Wednesday.

I’m sure these larvae of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes) appreciate celebrating with their critter brethren and host gardeners

As pretty as they are in their jammies, they’re more beautiful, all dressed up and beginning their careers of pollinating flowers.

Newly morphed into their adult selves,

they’ll  work in my gardens and others in the surrounding areas,

…as soon as their wings dry in the sunshine.

Observing these two adult butterflies emerging from their transitional homes gently reminded me that it’s okay, indeed preferable, not to prune plants just because they’re a little worse for wear.  The Coneflowers in my gardens are setting seed and are no longer fresh, pink and pretty.  I’m glad I wasn’t keen to prune them to the ground, because I would have destroyed the anchor for the butterflies’ chrysalides.

Wildlife gardening is about planting for wildlife: honoring  and appreciating their lives and contributions to the world we share with them.

Wildlife Wednesday–first Wednesday of each month.  Its second go’round is next Wednesday, August 6.

Please join in posting about the wildlife visiting your gardens for August Wildlife Wednesday.  Share the rare or mundane, funny or fascinating, beneficial or harmful wildlife you encounter.   When you comment on my post, leave a link to your post for Wildlife Wednesday.

Happy Wildlife Wednesday and good wildlife gardening!

10 thoughts on “Caterpillar Convention And Other Wildlife Contemplation

  1. Awesome photos, lady! I too have coneflower that is ragged looking and I’m letting it go untrimmed to allow the seed to mature. I have big plans to grow more. Same goes for my monarda and a stand of yellow coneflower.

    My butterfly fennel has gotten a little too shaded out perhaps – it is looking really tired and is only feeding aphids at the moment. I’m thinking I need to yank it this winter and try a sunnier spot. Because, those caterpillars! They are so stunning. When I first saw one up close I spent who knows how long just staring and thinking how fashion designers have nothing on Mother Nature. Looking forward to the next Wildlife Wednesday.


    • I’m pleased that the fennel hasn’t fried this summer–it’s provided lots of munchies for the caterpillars. They are magnificent, aren’t they? Those in particular are beautiful, but I find so many types just stunning. My other group of fennel have been feeding aphids, but it’s been interesting to watch the ladybird beetles and their morphs in action, so I’m not removing. I’ve never grown monarda–I think I’m probably too shady. I’ll have to be content to enjoy it in other gardens. Hope to see you and your critters next Wednesday!


  2. WOW! That is one big ol’… um, what do they call a group of caterpillars? A swarm? A herd? Never mind, you get my meaning, I’m sure. I am very pleased that you have so many of the black swallowtail caterpillars. I saw a grand total of TWO in my garden this year. Then there was just one.


  3. Waggle of worms? Concave of caterpillars? Hmm. I don’t know what the “group dynamic” is called, but I’m tickled to have so many this year. Sorry you’ve have so few–that’s how it was for me these past couple of years, so I can surely sympathize. Here’s wishing for a clump of caterpillars and a bevy of butterflies in your part of the world!


  4. Those caterpillars really love your fennel! I spotted about eight on my small little pot of parsley a few weeks ago, and it made me want to plant more parsley, fennel and dill for the caterpillars. Do you only grow fennel for the wildlife, or do you use it in cooking as well? I’m looking forward to next week’s Wildlife Wednesday – I’ve been collecting pics this whole last month of all the new creatures that have been visiting my gardens and can’t wait to share!


    • I mostly grow the fennel for the butterflies, Rebecca, but I’m not above snitching some at times for cooking/salads. I’m pleased you’re excited to share your photos–so am I! I have a smattering of this and that. I’m glad to say that I’ve had more butterflies/moths/bees in the gardens this year–hope it’s the same for you! See you Wednesday.


  5. Ladies, I believe the collective noun for caterpillars is “army”. Tina, you reminded me to go out and look again for ladybugs in various stages hunting those aphids. At least something is having fun on my fennel this year!


    • You’re right, Deb!! I think I knew that–somewhere in the deep, dark, scary recesses of my menopausal brain. I wish I had a better camera to capture images of the lady bugs and their larvae on the fennel–they’ve put on quite a show for weeks now.


  6. Nice capture on those butterflies. I’ve had a bunch of butterflies out there all summer so I need to check around for signs of eggs or emerging adults.

    I planted fennel this spring which promptly died as soon as the days warmed up and I’m not sure why. I will try again though.


    • I usually don’t have fennel survive summer, but it does sometimes. It was a complete fluke that I saw those two butterflies–I almost missed them as I headed back into the house.


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