What’s that in the garden, Ms. Jeannie hears?
It appears as if someone’s dived into the salad bar in the garden! The feasting is happening in the parsley plant that Ms. Jeannie just blogged about the other day. Do you remember this…
That was the parsley plant just 9 days ago. And now this is what it looks like today…
Oh dear! What happened you ask? Well, my darlings, it seems Ms. Jeannie’s been invaded by these little characters…
The swallowtail butterflies. Or, to be more exact, the infants of swallowtail butterflies.
Upon first spotting them, Ms. Jeannie had to make an immediate decision – save the parsley or propagate the butterflies. Apparently in nature you cannot have both! This turned out to be an easy decision for Ms. Jeannie. After all, parsley is not nearly as exciting as a butterfly (sorry green leafy friends), even though her herb did look beautiful and bountiful next to the gerber daisies and spinach.
Once she became pro butterfly, Ms. Jeannie began to thoroughly enjoy her new dinner guests. They are quite cute in that young baby way, with their fat bellies and their energetic ways.
This is the last stage of babyhood for these guys. They are ferociously devouring the parsley (oh the eating habits of teenagers!) so that they can build enough strength, stamina and sustenance to cocoon themselves for the nest few weeks while they grow into butterflies.
Ms. Jeannie is seriously hoping that they cocoon in the pot, but she’s not sure what the game plan is for that stage. Research says they like long grasses or house foundations, somewhere away from the birds. Ms. Jeannie has both of those nearby but how would she ever find them in the long grasses?
Ms. Jeannie looks forward to seeing the butterflies emerge and hopefully spend a little time in her garden once they’ve winged out.
Once they are at that stage, they’ll look like this…
Butterflies in mythology have long symbolized renewal. Perhaps Ms. Jeannie is cultivating some new changes in her life, or perhaps it’s just nature taking its course. Every summer it seems like there is some magical event that occurs over and over again in Ms. Jeannie’s life, a theme if you will, or a special situation that heralds that specific year with a specific reference. Last year it was the summer of the cows, the year before that, it was the summer of the fireworks. Ms. Jeannie would be thrilled if this was the summer of the butterflies:)
If all goes well with her brood, she’ll have just under a dozen butterflies, floating on the mid-summer breeze. Keep your fingers crossed! Adult butterflies impact the environment most actively by pollinating plants and flowers which is why they are beneficial to have in your garden. Even though they have short life spans, most just a few weeks, they can bring endless joy to a garden for seasons and spirits long after they are gone.
Ms. Jeannie never fails to be amazed and surprised by the sight of a butterfly. For such a fragile creature to last for weeks, let alone minutes in our environment astounds her. Perhaps that’s why they are so magical. They start out camouflaged en masse, creeping and crawling, but one by one they turn inward, wrapping themselves in their own comforter, stewing in their own protection, before emerging a changed creature, light and independent. They are the best case scenarios, the happy endings, the freedoms of ability that is at the root of all human yearnings.
Ms. Jeannie is glad to have a little part in the continuation of such symbolism and hope in her little corner of the world.
More on the butterflies (hopefully) coming soon!