Posts Tagged ‘garden’

Aug 22
2012

I Have Butterflies

Some of nature’s won­ders require that you stop, pause and look closely. This isn’t one of them. There’s a rea­son the Bud­dleia is called a but­ter­fly bush. It’s cov­ered in swal­low­tail butterflies!

This but­ter­fly bush is the Bud­dleia davidii ‘White Splen­dour’ (I think). It is approx­i­mately 8′ in diam­e­ter and nearly 10′ tall. It was relo­cated a cou­ple of years ago to a more roomy loca­tion because I didn’t believe it could pos­si­bly grow this big.

All sum­mer long the but­ter­flies are numer­ous and indus­tri­ous in our gar­den. It’s one of the rea­sons I grow dill but hardly ever get to eat any. The cater­pil­lars eat it all. Glut­tons. Glo­ri­ous gluttons.

By far the East­ern Tiger Swal­low­tails out­num­ber the other but­ter­flies. But we also have Painted Admi­rals, Black Swal­low­tails and—the glo­ri­ous Zebra Swal­low­tail. (You can see those in the video below.)

A while back a friend of mine was envy­ing our pro­lific Paw­paw patch because it is host to the lar­val Zebra Swal­low­tail. If you don’t know Paw­paws, they are a  fruit tree native to North Amer­ica. The fruit of the Paw­paw is rather sweet and mushy. For some it’s an acquired taste. But Zebra Swal­low­tails just love Paw­paws.  In fact, it is also called the Paw­paw butterfly.

I wish I were a bet­ter pho­tog­ra­pher and video­g­ra­pher to share how the bush comes alive. This is def­i­nitely one of nature’s big­ger shows in my garden.

 

Robin

Chick­ens are very dif­fi­cult mod­els. I must have about 4,000 chicken pho­tos. In 3,990 of them the chicken is fac­ing the wrong way, run­ning the wrong way or tak­ing a poop.

To pho­to­graph a chicken takes patience and Olympic-class squat­ting abil­ity. You must get down…wayyyyy down…into a squat posi­tion and stay there for about four hours while train­ing your cam­era on the chicken and wait­ing for him or her to gaze in your direc­tion. If you try and rush said gaze by, say, whistling, you will alarm the chicken into fac­ing the wrong way, run­ning the wrong way or tak­ing a poop.

So the fol­low­ing rep­re­sents about three weeks of squat­ting and wait­ing patiently. Enjoy. I have to go rub some Ben­gay on my quads now.

(You should be able to click on the photo to embiggen and see their purdy feathers.)

Robin

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, is now available from Taunton Press. Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.

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