August is upon us, summer is halfway gone. My college workers leave this week to get packed and move to school. Sad, for me summer is almost over but with the arrival of August comes the height of butterfly season. From now until early September you should see more of the little beauties. I have been steadily releasing butterflies all week 13 monarchs in one day and today, 13 black swallowtails. The total as of this afternoon is 72 butterflies. Definitely not the numbers I had last year but I am happy I could add the black swallowtail butterflies to my repertoire. They really are not that difficult. I am having an easier time this year because I am actually growing the plants the cats need. So instead of putting stems of dill in vases I put pots of carrot and dill plants in the cat house and let the cats eat right off the live plants. So much easier than putting tiny stems of dill into tiny vases.
My garden is not only butterfly friendly, I grow many plants to attract butterflies to lay eggs. The obvious being milkweed for monarchs. I grow four specie of MW. With the addition of tropical MW I have a decent variety. I moved a couple of large pots of tropical MW to the driveway from the side of the house. I did find more eggs after that. The monarchs still prefer laying eggs on the big common MW. I also decided to grow carrots in pots this summer, just to see if it would work. Because how do you know if will work if you don't try? That was great for the black swallowtails! I have grown a Duthman's pipe vine for 7 years now, mostly in vane. I haven't seen any pipe vine butterflies or cats. However this summer I found evidence of chewing on my vine. So next summer I will be much more aware earlier. I assume it will be just as easy to raise those cats indoors as the others. I added one Lindera benzoin spice bush to the garden this year. it is a nice native shrub, basic look, green leaves etc etc, it has beautiful bright yellow fall color! I have been told that if you plant it, they will come. So hopefully next year I will see those incredible cats of the spice bush swallowtail. I also planted rue this spring and to my delight I found one of the plants all chewed up! Rue is another host plant for black swallowtail cats. Other butterflies spotted in my garden this year? Skippers and lots of them, red admiral, cabbage white, question mark, Eastern tiger swallowtail and of course monarchs and black swallowtails. Just not as many as in years past.