The Italian Flat-leafed Parsley is gloriously potted and ready for this season's butterfly show. The Black Swallowtails love this parsley. They also love fennel. The lantana is growing and blooming now, and the butterflies are beginning to show up. Soon, a female will lay her eggs and the process of raising front porch butterflies will begin anew.
The above photos are from 2 years ago when I raised and released about 15 Black Swallowtails, all males. My buddy Carroll raised even more, including 2 females. I found the process such fun, so fascinating and educational. Yet it can be heartbreaking. I've learned it's best for me to destroy the parsley after the first brood because a second brood doesn't have time to complete the process to my satisfaction. I get attached. In 2007 a late chrysalis dropped to the soil and I thought it had died, but a miniature, deformed butterfly emerged and it broke my heart watching it struggle before dying. Last year my potting soil was infected with a fungus. I didn't know about the fungus until well into the process, and those chrysalises all died. I'm entirely too soft-hearted about nature, yet I wouldn't call myself naive. As Sting would say, "that's my soul up there." So here we go - Butterfly Season has arrived!