Tuesday, March 19, 2013

TOUGH TIMES IN THE GARDEN

March certainly came in like a lion this year. It roared in with temperatures, in the 80s, strong buffeting winds and hit a record high of 90° yesterday.


Our poor spring flowers, like these Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane', with their delicate petals, do not last long under such conditions.


Petals need to be tough, like those of the Blackfoot daisy, Melampodium leucanthum.

But it isn't just tough for the flowers. The Swallowtail caterpillars are having a tough time too. Two days ago I counted 10 tiny caterpillars on a parsley plant. Today when I looked I couldn't find any. Then on closer examination, this.


A fire ant in the act of devouring one of my babies. I quickly went over to look at the bronze fennel plant where I knew there were two caterpillars getting ready to pupate. To my horror, this.


A stink bug devouring this caterpillar. Too late to help him but at least I may have saved the other one.


Later in the day I had to rescue a blackswallowtail butterfly from the greenhouse! The things a gardener has to do.


14 comments:

  1. Oh, no. I'll be on extra alert to see what's going on with the butterflies & moths in my garden. I have butterflies but haven't discovered caterpillars yet.

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  2. Swirl a little of that warm air up north a bit, will you? :)

    I've seen a parsley plant stripped of tiny caterpillars in less than a day too.

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  3. I haven't seen any Black Swallowtails yet, just Spicebush and Tiger. My parsley is ready -- some going to seed-- they had best hurry!

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  4. Sorry to hear about your Swallowtail cats. It is always disappointing when they don't make it.

    If this current weather is any indication of what our Summer is going to be like, it is going to be a long and hot summer.

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  5. looks like the spammers found your website, yuck. I cannot believe you already are at 90 degrees. Amazing!

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  6. I am not feeling at all inspired by those bad bugs, boo! But your tulips, daisies and cacti are glorious. My tulips are not blooming this year...

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  7. Wow, I did not know that stink bugs would do that. Another reason to despise those nasty things.

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  8. Not shabby for tough times! I would gladly trade...

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  9. Great first shot!!! I rescue the caterpillars too- nice to know others do as well. =0)

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  10. Ew, it's definitely a bug-eat-bug world out there.

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  11. I'm glad you were there to provide rescue! Hopefully the beneficiaries of your kindness will show up in future photos.

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  12. Great documentation of a sad situation. Usually, birds snag my caterpillars. It's totally amazing we get any butterflies at all, but thank you for the rescue and a super story!

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  13. What great pictures and documentation of a sad situation. Birds usually get my caterpillars. It's amazing we ever get butterflies, so thank you for the rescue! Thank you for such a super story.

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