There is a price to be paid for the beauty of the swallowtails who have so gracefully flitted through the garden these last several weeks.
The plant of choice for nourishing the larvae of the eastern swallowtail is parsley.
I haven't a very large clump of parsley this year--one can use only so much.
There were 5 or 6 of the caterpillars in various sizes spotted on the parsley this afternoon.
They eat voraciously until they enter the pupal stage.
I don't really have to think about this--its not as though one can re-locate them with an explanation that their accomodations are threatening my harvest.
Parsley is a "cut-and come-again" crop.
Hmmm--if I shear the descimated and devoured plant to the ground, what happens to the tidy green case that protects next seasons' butterfly?
A bit more informational reading is in order.
Its odd how we notice things--without really knowing that we do.
I'm only just realizing that there are fewer of the adult butterflies hovering over the zinnias or feeding on the cropped-back monarda. Fewer than in the past weeks, as the season rushes on.
I think I can spare the parsley.