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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Swallowtail Butterflies Finally Found the Parsley

A brief interruption in our series of posts featuring vacation fun to share this important and exciting discovery.

A few posts back we featured this potted container arrangement. As you can see there is a parsley plant spilling over one side. There is also a parsley plant spilling over the raised beds in the veggie garden (shown below). Both were planted back in March and have produced some very lush herbs for use in the kitchen. But my main intent was to attract the egg laying of swallowtail butterflies.

The first thing I did arriving home from my trip to North Carolina was to take a walk around to see how the garden was doing. Much to my delight the swallowtail butterflies I'd seen landing here and there all spring finally produced some caterpillars on the parsley plants. I've counted about ten all together.

Each day we'll check on them to watch their progress.


  1. Nice caterpillars and nice fancy links in the sidebar!

  2. Oooh, very exciting! I had no idea swallowtails were attracted to parsley.

  3. Jane: thanks to great blog friends!

    nancy: hee-hee. Yes, crawly things are measured by beauty for sure.

    amy: something I just learned this year with a little investigation into hosts planting for butterflies.

  4. I am very jealous! Another blogger has found swallowtails. I am growing parsley, dill, and fennel and I have yet to have seen any swallowtails. :-( Good luck with them!

  5. wow that is amazing it will be cool to see their chrysalis. keep us up to date!

  6. Who else but you could get excited over creepy, crawly caterpillars? After personally witnessing you hunting down grasshoppers with your pruning clippers to behead them, I am hardly surprised at your fascination with overgrown worms. And to think, I used to smoosh these things into the ground. Ohh, I just hate to think of the beautiful butterflies I exterminated in my haste to rid my garden of worms that were eating my plants!

  7. Hi Meems, glad you had a great vacation and the hubby saga cracked me up! He deserves a bonus. Your caterpillars are indeed something to get excited about. We have seen the adults and have been waiting for their little offspring, no swallowtails yet on the bronze fennel and milkweed yet. We did see some frittilary caterpillars on the venus looking glass of all things, as I was pulling the spent plants, so they will now get left in the soil. Welcome back.

  8. Cindy: Welcome to Hoe & Shovel and don't give up on those butterflies... they had been flying around here all the while. I planted the parsley in March and I guess they just recently decided it was time to lay eggs.

    marmee: I was thinking the same thing... hopefully they will survive that long... some of them are just about ready to transform I think.

    Senior Gardener: If only those nasty grasshoppers would either turn into something helpful/beautiful or be exterminated... the only two good solutions for those ginormous plant destroying creatures.

    Don't feel bad I've killed a few caterpillars over the years in ignorance too.

    Frances: Hubby worked so diligently to get it right but I could surely hear the relief in his voice when he proudly phoned me to let me know we were getting that beautiful downpour.

    Thing is that when you see the butterflies flitting about at least you know they have managed to lay their eggs somewhere close by even if you don't see the transformation. We have so many butterflies in the garden and yet I don't see the caterpillars as often as one would think. Like Faire Garden, there are lots of places here for them to have their little families that we would quite likely never see the process... but it's surely exciting when we do.

  9. Meems,

    Parsley, dill and fennel are wonderful to cook with...but knowing they attract caterpillars and butterflies is icing on the cake! When I walk by the fennel and smell it's anise scent, I know the caterpillars are chomping away!

    As always Meems,your photographs are wonderful...I have been hanging out at the side bar this morning.


  10. What fun Meems. I haven't seen them in our garden yet. We have Bronze Fennel that they like to grow on.

  11. Fabulous. I had black swallowtail butterflies on my dill this year so far. I'm still hoping for the yellow swallowtails too. I have plenty of parsley for them to eat if they would only show up. The funny thing is that I've seen the yellow swallowtails in my garden and not the black swallowtails. A black one must have snuck in while I wasn't looking.

  12. How exciting for you....mission accomplished!

  13. I saw a swallowtail on the parsley yesterday, I think she was laying eggs. I like to bring a few caterpillars inside to watch the metamorphosis up close.

  14. Great discovery. I had the swallowtails for the past few years too.

  15. This is the first year that we have seen the Parsley worms in our plant here in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. Now that we know what they are we are not so concerned.

  16. My black swallowtail caterpillars have consumed all of my four parsley plants so that there is nothing left for the caterpillars emerging from the many eggs that have been laid. I'm going to have to buy parsley and put it out in glasses of water just to keep this amazing chain of life going. My adjacent basil plant is host to swallowtail pupae and I'm struggling to keep it alive through the Florida heat and humidity.


Have a blessed day,

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