A grouping of mint...
featuring Pineapple Mint, Chocolate Mint, and of course,
Catnip all have tufts of lavender flowers which are favored by the
Buckeye (shown above) and Red Admiral butterflies. The North Carolina
Mountain Mint attracts all types buzzing insects -- as many as 10
different types were counted at one time -- but they are so busy
collecting pollen from this mint's sturdy flower head that they
aren't concerned about humans in the least.
If you plant it...
they will come. At least that is true for the Spicebush
butterfly (below and far right) who showed up promptly after planting
their larval food source, the Spicebush! Adults enjoy anything from
red clover to geraniums.
The cycle of life...
is played out before our eyes each summer as the Monarchs
lay their eggs on our politically-incorrect milkweed patch. The
weed's glorious flower spheres are pleasant to butterflies and humans
alike. Tiny caterpillars feast on the milky leaves and the lucky
ones make their way to nearby grasses to form a chrysalis.
|After precisely 10 days, the transformed
caterpillar emerges to dry its wings. In just a few hours, it begins
to fly vulnerably around its birthplace and seems to master the skill
within another hour. At this point, he or she is indistinguishable
from the other Monarchs that will travel together for a winter in
Mexico. Their descendants will hopefully find their way back to our
milkweed patch the following year.
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