Texas Gardening forum: Should be a good year for Black Swallowtails

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Name: Sam aka 'Rosie'
Post Oaks of Colorado Co. (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas
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WRRanch
Mar 30, 2013 12:51 PM CST
I was puttering in the garden today, harvesting some dill for use when we make our pickles, and noticed a rather large 'infestation' of caterpillars on the dill plants (I'm guessing a couple of hundred). They are all different sizes, although they pretty much all looked to be the same. I figured I'd do some research before I sprayed Bt & I'm glad I did, as they turned out to be Black Swallowtail caterpillars. From what I found thus far, they only eat plants in the parsnip family, so I decided I'd leave them alone, as we already have plenty of dill for our purposes and butterflies are great pollinators!!!

It's funny how every year something 'new' shows up at the ranch, sometimes it good & sometime its bad, however its always interesting to learn something new... Heck, we even got out first Red-Shoulder Hawk nest in a tree in our hay-trap (maybe 100' from our vegetable garden) & we've been out here 20 yrs!!!

Thumb of 2013-03-30/WRRanch/7cee50

Thumb of 2013-03-30/WRRanch/3c4677

[Last edited by WRRanch - Mar 30, 2013 12:56 PM (+)]
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Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Mar 30, 2013 12:58 PM CST
Sam, that's awesome!! I am not a fan of dill but seeing as the swallowtails like them maybe I will plant a few. nodding
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Mar 30, 2013 3:54 PM CST

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We have Rue at the lake and they seem to like it also. We hardly ever water it and, the caterpillars are all over it. Grows back just fine. Love the photo!
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Mar 30, 2013 3:58 PM CST
Sandi, what kind of Rue, I just looked and there are dozens of different types, and will it survive zone 3a?? Shrug!
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Mar 30, 2013 4:02 PM CST

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I'm not sure, I brought it home from the master Gardener greenhouse years ago when we were cleaning it out for winter. It didn't do well here, so I took it to the lake. I'll see if I can find a photo later. It thrives on neglect and hot sun. It's sort of a bluish green.
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Mar 30, 2013 4:07 PM CST
I like the sound of it, summertime we have hot sun and if I plant it outside the fence it will probably get neglected, therefore it should thrive. Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Mar 30, 2013 4:07 PM CST

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This was taken in early June

Thumb of 2013-03-30/Bubbles/406575
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
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mcash70
Mar 30, 2013 4:13 PM CST
Does it get blooms or is it just foliage, I don't care either way seeing as it is for the swallowtails, just maybe help with finding the right cultivar. Do you mind if I save your photo for future reference?
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Mar 30, 2013 4:17 PM CST

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I'm not sure about the blooms. It seems it does in fall, but I could be wrong. We're usually not up there much after football season begins. Thumbs down
And of course, save the pic. It isn't a very good one, though. 'Right in the blazing sun!
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
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mcash70
Mar 30, 2013 5:18 PM CST
I tip my hat to you.
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Mar 30, 2013 8:22 PM CST
I used to buy Rue at nurseries and inevitably they'd die within a couple of years. Then I got several in trade from a butterfly person in South Texas and have had Rue since then. I'm leary of pruning it much, however...I lost the last one I pruned quite a bit. Fortunately I had two more bushes and I have had volunteers come up from time to time. Large rues like mine can bloom almost year-round and it's an excellent nectar plant...not to mention a butterfly host plant for both Black Swallowtail and Giant Swallowtail. These are Red Admirals nectaring on a Rue bush.
Thumb of 2013-03-31/LindaTX8/bbab4f
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
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mcash70
Mar 30, 2013 10:43 PM CST
Linda your Rue looks different that Sandi's, what cultivar do you have?
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Mar 30, 2013 11:33 PM CST
I'm afraid about all that I know about my rue is that a woman that lives in far South Texas sent the original plants to me quite a few years ago as a trade.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
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canadanna
Mar 30, 2013 11:49 PM CST
I have had rue for a year and have never seen blooms like that. Wow! I found cats on my fennel.Thumb of 2013-03-31/canadanna/2565d6
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
Mar 31, 2013 6:53 AM CST
About a month ago I watched a very small black swallowtail lay two eggs on the Prairie Parsley, and since the butterflies have been so scarce lately I decided to bring the eggs in and raise them.
They are now two beautiful chrisallys and I am looking forward to them eclosing and setting them free.
I have found a few more since then and i am raising them all. Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
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mcash70
Mar 31, 2013 8:59 AM CST
I guess I will just have to check out the nursery and see which type of Rue they sell for our zone. Smiling

Josephine, that's great! Thumbs up
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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LindaTX8
Mar 31, 2013 1:25 PM CST
Good idea, Josephine! I found some Pipevine Swallowtail eggs on a patch of wild pipevine in a nearby town and I egg-napped some to raise here. Along the road road, a wild milkweed showed a few tiny holes today, but didn't find any little caterpillars...maybe the spiders on the plants got the caterpillars. I've actually seen a total of only one Monarch so far.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Mar 31, 2013 3:32 PM CST

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It's raining at the lake and on its way here. We have cloudless sulfurs and red admirals all over the front yard. DH asked me where the go when it rains. I told him they must hide under the bushes or under the eaves. I really don't know, do you?

I find those huge moths in my little cabinet on the porch sometimes in summer.
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
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TexasPlumeria87
Apr 4, 2013 8:39 AM CST
I found this guy in my garden. I'm hoping he survives this cold.
Thumb of 2013-04-04/TexasPlumeria87/1c3937
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
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mcash70
Apr 4, 2013 8:49 AM CST
Cameron, I hope it survives too, very nice photo. Thumbs up

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