Friday, September 17, 2010

Triumphs and Tragedies

The weatherman told me it would be pouring rain today and indeed he was right.  The weather has been all tragedy these last couple weeks.  Very cold and very rainy.  We literally did a switch from 30 degrees celcius to 15 degrees overnight.  Fall is here and winter is nipping at its heels.  Knowing it wasn't likely I would get to walk in the garden today I took some photos last night.  I was particularly overjoyed to find this guy in my carrots.

This caterpillar will eventually turn into a Black Swallowtail butterfly.  But to get him to that stage he needs to eat.  Apparently these caterpillars are partial to plants in the family of Umbelliferae family such as parsley, dill, Queen Anne's lace, fennel and of course, carrots.  Looks like I'll have to leave the carrots in the ground just a bit longer so he can eat as much of the tops as he needs to get him through the winter.

I've seen very few caterpillars in our yard this year and not that many butterflies either.  That's a real shame considering we live on 3 acres in the country.  You'd think we'd be run amuk with insect life.  I blame the former lawn for our lack of insects.  Happily we've let the lawn begin to regenerate itself into a proper field and I think this is a positive step in the right direction.  It's also got me thinking about what to plant for next year.  I'll need more carrots and perhaps some parsley in order to feed more butterfly larvae but I will also need flowers such as milkweed to feed the emerging butterflies.

Another small triumph.  This time of the photography kind.  This picture was a happy accident.  I was trying to capture the ladybug in the dying light and my flash went off.  Frustrated I turned the flash off and tried again.  But when I looked at the photos later the picture with the flash turned out to be the winner.
It's not very often I take a really good photograph and even though this was an accident I'm still pretty proud of it.

Have a great weekend everybody, tomorrow is the 70 Mile Yard Sale so you know where I'll be!


  1. Beautiful pictures! We also have had an abrupt end to summer (Victoria, BC). Sigh, Fall is officially here... But on the upside, it's prime native plant planting weather and the mosses are going crazy with the perfect temp and humidity. There is always something to do in the garden isn't there?

  2. Beautiful photos! Good job :D

    I never see any cool caterpillars in my yard. Probably because I don't have the sorts of plants you described. I just get really ugly caterpillars that probably turn into brown moths lol.

  3. Both the photos are fantastic - I love the strong contrast of colour between the leaves and the caterpillar. The ladybird photo is stunning. You're right to be proud of it!

  4. I concur about the photos. Both are fabulous! Here in Minneapolis, we've also had the instant change of temperatures. Seems bizarre that last weekend we were in shorts and sleeveless tops in the garden and yesterday it was long pants and turtlenecks with fleece vests. The good thing is that there are fewer mosquitoes with the cooler weather!

  5. GardenGirl - There definitely is always something to do. I'm having a hard time lately keeping up with all the harvesting, mulching, weeding. Enjoyable but never ending.

    Kyna - I thought the same thing until I saw this caterpillar. He gave me hope that I might be some pretty butterflies in my garden one day.

    Bub - Who knew a flash could work so well to my advantage! The more pictures I take the more I learn.

    Auntie K - That's one great thing about September here. The bugs suddenly disappear. Although I'd take sun and bugs over cold and rainy.

  6. Hooray for caterpillars!!! If you plant it, they will come!! Try planitng rue for your swallowtails. Do some research on it since some plants don't like to grow near rue. I had black swallowtail and giant swallowtail caterpillars devouring my rue this spring. It was wonderful!!! If you research the types of butterflies that are native to your area, it will help you figure out what plants to grow! Good luck!!!

  7. TS - I got excited for a minute because I thought I already had Meadow Rue but unfortunately realized that I've actually got MeadowSweet! Oh well, lots of room for both. You're right, knowing that we have black swallowtail I have a much better idea of what sort of plants to bring in.

  8. We built our house on virgin land, instead of planting a lawn I planted clover. All kinds of native and non native plants( I'm trying to get rid of those) have moved in to fill in he spots where the clover has died away. I let it establish itself around the vegetable garden and I don't mow. It sort of looks like a mess but I have no insect problems. As well I plant several different vegetables together and the same vegetable in different spots so if the wrong bugs do find them my whole crop won't be decimated.

  9. Amazing pictures. I'm glad I find your blog. I'll study more about bugs.

  10. Melanie - I know what you mean about looking somewhat of a mess. I love that we're letting the 'back lawn' grow into a field but some days it looks pretty scruffy. I like the idea of seeding with clover though as we're having issues with our front lawn dying out. That might be a good alternative and help to restore some balance.

    Scented Leaf - Welcome and thanks for visiting. With all the herbs you grow I'm surprised you would have any insect issues. Scented pelaragoniums are a favourite of mine!