Friday, July 10, 2009

Caterpillars and Flowers

We found a very pretty caterpillar in one of the gardens. I couldn't resist but to pluck it from it's comfort zone and show it to the kids. Absolutely beautiful. However, it wasn't long after I picked it up that I smelled something awful. Some combination of vinegar, cat pee, and skunk. Ew. Sure enough, the caterpillar emits a strong odor as a defense mechanism. The kids and I all passed it around, put it back, snapped some pictures, then went to look it up. Uhm, and wash our hands with soap and water!

Black swallowtail caterpillar/butterfly. I have seen these butterflies before and they are very pretty, so I am looking forward to seeing more now that I've seen more than one of these caterpillars in my garden. I also learned that it likes dill.

That must be why I'm seeing more of these fellas and ladies. I have a LOT of dill. WHat started as just a little has started to take over the garden. And the yard. And the neighbor's yard. I've pulled it out by the roots and I've picked frequently in order to keep the plants small and in specific areas. I still have a LOT of dill!

(And a BIG "Thank you!" to a talented artist and fun mom for sharing the difference between cutworms and caterpillars because I really had no idea that those aren't caterpillars! I've found a few and they didn't make it - we tried to keep them in a jar for observation, but they never cocooned, just died. Now I also know how to keep them out of my garden, because I looked them up!)

We also have a lot of orange Ditch Lillies. The ones that grow nearly 6-feet tall. They are SO pretty! And right next to them are these bright lilles. I am so pleased with the variety and glad that I didn't pull these out when I thought they might be a weed. It's nice to let some things grow and see what they really are. (I forget what I've planted and where, not to mention what the critters have relocated for me...)

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