It’s Sunday morning and I’m under my tree again. These past days have been hot ones, but under the dogwood, I’m able to stay cool. This is my favorite place to be on weekends — in a camp chair, in the shade of my favorite tree, observing the garden.
A few minutes ago, from the chaise lounge inside, I watched a swallowtail drink from the milkweed for a good five or ten minutes. Its big wings beat furiously as it flitted from flower head to flower head and drank deeply. When it finally flew away, it staggered like a drunken sailor.
“Maybe it was a female and now it’s going to lay eggs on the parsley!” I said. “Or the rue.” I tried to peer farther out the window to see the parsley plants.
Then it occurred to me that the resident bird population might eat any caterpillars we get. “They’ve eaten all the blueberries, too,” said our son.
Oh well. This is the way of things.
I moved outside for a better view of the host plants, to watch for any signs of egg-laying. The swallowtail hasn’t come to the parsley, but a hummingbird is drinking from the bee balm about 15 feet away. It’s tiny body shimmers emerald in the sun, and its wings hum as it beats them fast enough to hover while it drinks from red trumpets.
Ooh ooh! Here comes the swallowtail! Towards the parsley, close to the parsley, will it see the parsley?
Nope, flew by without stopping. Dang.
It’s okay. Butterflies have been rare so far this summer. Now they’re finally coming. They’ve found the little oasis we tried to create, filled with host plants for caterpillars and nectar for adults. I see five flitting through the garden right now as I type.
I’ll keep watching.