Who doesn’t love to see the beauties flying around their garden?

fennel and butterflyBronze Fennel,

that wonderful perennial in the garden and

in the kitchen, is a host plant for the

Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly.

At some point in the last few weeks, the swallowtails were visiting our bronze fennel plant in the front of the Hart’s Seed building.

We noticed the first eggs last week:egg

And now the first tiny caterpillars have hatched:Catapiller

Although they will eat some of our plant, knowing that we will be enjoying the beautiful butterflies is worth the sacrifice.

Swallowtail butterflies will lay their eggs on a number of different plants; dill, fennel, parsley, Queen Ann’s lace and other members of the carrot family. Since bronze fennel is a large plant that starts to appear early in the spring, the loss of a few fronds to the caterpillars is usually acceptable.  If you’ve just planted your dill or parsley, you may be temped not to share your plants and eliminate the chewing ‘pest’. Please be kind – and move them to another host.

fennel

Planting the seeds of bronze fennel now will allow you to enjoy a harvest of sweet smelling leaves and seed this year – and feed the butterflies – for years to come!

Want more info on swallowtail butterflies?

Or maybe to try and raise a butterfly from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to flutter bye?

Continue to visit our blog; we’ll keep you updated on our garden visitor’s progress.