I meant to post this on Monday -- saw several swallowtails on Saturday 5/13 Annandale. Unfortunately, I have almost nothing in bloom for them /..\ except clematis and wisteria. Isn't this a bit early for them to be visiting?
They're here--and lots of them! I was wondering about that, too, since there's not much blooming.
Yesterday I had my camera with me when I saw a bunch of them "puddling" by the side of the road. I'm not going to post a picture here (stories of i-Village "owning" everything....grrr...) but you can see them on a page I made last night on my website:
More swallowtails came by this weekend, heading straight for the buddleias, which at presently are nothing but sprouting leaves and wishful thinking. They circled the yard several times, flitting from one buddleia to the next and then checking out the front flower beds for the phlox (also not yet in bud, much less in bloom) and then flying off to the south. I've read that, although the scientists still don't know how they do it, swallowtails [genetically?] pass down memories of roosting places to their offspring. I wonder if some of last year's visitors had early broods. Now that I consider it, I wonder how the scientists knew which butterfly passed which memory?!
I just started raising butterflies last year and I use my screened porch as a huge butterfly enclosure for them. Unlike the Monarch, which migrates, Eastern Black Swallowtails will overwinter in their chrysalis form. I had a couple dozen of them do this on my porch and they started emerging on April 1st!
I've also just started planting for my b'flies, and added a Verbena 'Homestead Purple' last summer (I've seen this for sale at the Home Depot and KMart). It was already in bloom early this spring when the EBSTs started emerging! The rest of the yard was still looking like winter was here and there was this big splash of purple in a barren landscape!My single plant is now covering a 3 square foot area.
I've heard the best Verbena for them is the V. bonariensis, which is tall, but I don't know how early that blooms. The folks on the Butterfly Forum are "talking encyclopedias" and I've never had a question they didn't have an answer or a solution for, in case you haven't checked out that forum:>