Garden Butterflies

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)June 24, 2011

I'm still raising pipevine swallowtails, hauling in branches of pipevines several times a day, and changing the poop-filled paper towels several times a day also. Several have pupated and a few are still small, but most are 4th or 5th instar cats.

I'm raising about ?40 giant swallowtails, trying not to waste a single leaf.

Ten gulf frits have emerged, about seven of which were females, and there are two chrysalides left - these came from eggs laid much later than the first ones. I'm still knocked out by the bright coloring of newly emerged males!

Several of the black swallowtails have pupated, but most are STILL eating - eat, eat, eat!

While I was out in the garden gathering pipevine branches, rue and hops leaves, I got these pictures of visiting butterflies, the first a variegated fritillary -

The other one is a silver-spotted skipper -


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Great pictures, Sherry. I'm envious, but happy for you. Is it me or are you taking better pictures?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 8:26PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Thanks, Tom, but I'm not taking better pictures. This little $99 point-and-shoot camera I've got isn't as good as the one I had before. With Bob, Sandy, and others posting such beautiful, clear pictures here, my slightly blurry pictures just don't measure up. I'll probably be checking out yet another camera - I DO love taking pictures of butterflies!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 9:35PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)


I think you take beautiful pictures! Sounds like the butterflies are making your place their home. I think Pipevines are the messiest butterflies to raise. Everytime I go out to collect fresh pipevine, I find more caterpillars! And two females were laying eggs today. I saw a Monarch male, a Black Swallowtail female, a Red Admiral, a Horace Duskywing, a Wild Indigo Duskywing, several Orange Sulphurs, lots of ETBs, and at least a hundred skippers today. The Buttonbush, lantana, Butterfly bushes, and coneflowers are very popular right now.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 10:31PM
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Miss Sherry,

What is that first plant with the purple flowers? So pretty! Your pictures and flowers are always so beautiful!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 10:57PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Yes, Sandy, pipevine swallowtail cats are messy, and they have that odor (their poop) that's unique to them. When each one empties its bowels before pupating, I just HAVE to clean out the cage, even if I just did it! But they're fun, very active - I love those 'tentacles' or whatever they are - and they're such gorgeous butterflies!
I also saw tiger swallowtails, palamedes swallowtails, spicebush swallowtails, lots of different types of skippers including some cute common checkered skippers, sleepy oranges and cloudless sulphurs, a giant swallowtail, and a few gulf frits.
This isn't the peak of the butterfly season, however. The peak is usually in October.
By the way, you probably don't remember it, but last year I got a picture of a southern pearly eye close to the house. I dug up a small roadside cane - pearly eye host plant - and planted in the most suitable spot on my property. This year has been dry, and I've forgotten to water it when I should have, so I thought it would die, but it hasn't, it's even growing a little. The recent rains probably helped. One day, I'd love to raise some pearly eyes. If this cane will continue to grow and spread, that might happen.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:11PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

It's Centratherum intermedium/Brazilian button, Melissa. It's real popular with the small and medium size butterflies, and occasionally swallowtails will nectar on it, too. It's bloomed continually since it started doing so a few months ago. My three plants came from the local nursery owner who had planted them out, and then when they came back in the spring, she potted them up to sell, so I know they're cold hardy. It's surprising how many Brazilian plants do well here - Ruellia elegans/Elegant ruellia, Salvia guaranitica, and now Brazilian button.
Speaking of Ruellias, my native Carolina petunias/R. caroliniana, which grow roadside here, are self-seeding in my garden. I've dug up one of the little volunteers and potted it up, to plant out later up by the main road or by my driveway road. I'd like to get it started there - it's vigorous enough to survive on its own, and it's supposed to be used occasionally as a host plant by buckeyes. They normally use the Agalinis fasciculata, but maybe they'll use the wild petunias some day.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:23PM
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Thanks for the info Miss Sherry! The Brazilian button wouldn't work for my zone, but I will keep it in mind if I ever move back to California :)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 10:58AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I did some work in the garden early this morning, but before I went back inside, a palamedes swallowtail visited some milkweed. Milkweed is certainly one of the best butterfly garden plants, providing both nectar and host plant leaves.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 11:49AM
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