Thursday, September 3, 2009

Swallowtail Deskinning, Monarch Assassinated, Spider v. Grasshopper

Lots of insect intrigue and gore pics to follow. You ready? I promise some nice garden pics too, though.

This is the first year I've tried raising black swallowtails inside, and lo and behold, it's a lot like doing monarchs. See?

Unfortunately, the above swallowtail came out yesterday and couldn't inflate one wing. We put him in the garden anyway--freezer euthanization isn't my thing yet. (Yes, I know it should be.) It could've been a virus, or maybe it's because he never could attach his derriere to the stick so just hung there for two weeks.

Did have a swallowtail and monarch do their thing at the same exact time:

Though I think we have far fewer fall monarch cats outside this year, my wife insists it's because they're dispersed on almost 20 various milkweeds. Last year one cat pupated on the siding, and this year there's one on my storage chest. I best be careful opening it these next two weeks:

Ok. Here we go. Some sort of assassin bug--I do believe--got a monarch cat. Notice the green blood trailing down the leaf under the body like some bad horror flick on Scifi, oops, I mean SyFy.

But below is something joyous. With so many grasshoppers (hundreds, millions) every time I walk through the garden I stir them up. A few inevitably jump into spider webs. Here you can see this spider pouring silk out and pasting it on to the victim. Huzzah!

I have two 'Chocolate' eupatoriums, and one has almost lost all of its buds due to grasshoppers eating them. These are the last plants to bloom in the fall, and I am pissed off (better than on, right?). I'm worried about how many grasshopper eggs might be in the garden.

Speaking of eupatorium, here's one called 'Wayside' I am in love with. The blooms are either an irredescent blue / purple--much like blue lobelia--or they are a dusted grey / purple. Only thing bluer in my garden is the 'Nekan' sage.

Angelica gigas never sets seed for me--no idea why--so I have to buy 1 year old plants every year. Worth it, though:

That was a gratuitous cat image. He likes to fold laundry with me and play with the socks.

I enjoy this combo and this angle. The globe thistle seedheads pick up the grey of the switchgrass and little bluestem, while the 'Baby Joe' eupatorium does the same with the grasses. By the way, Baby Joe is nearly 6 feet tall--I assume the wet clay is to blame for its girth.

Say it with me--the favorite view. We should just call it TFV from now on since I use this shot so often. Doesn't the sedum way off bring the eye in by reflecting the color of the bridge, mulch, and steppers? Humor me.


wiseacre said...

After seeing the pic of the assassin bug I don't worry as much about predator bugs growing to my size. I'm spending much more time looking out for the cat sized ones now.

2 Green Acres said...

I love the last two pictures of your garden! Beautiful use of native plants!

Statch said...

Wonderful post! I never thought about raising butterflies indoors. We're happy because we've started seeing the Gulf Fritillaries in the last month; they're using our passionflower vine and are so beautiful.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Don't mess with the spider... at least he's on your side.

So to humour you, yes, that is a great shot.

Gail said...

I like the eupatorium, too. The one that grows here naturally has the best red stems. The last photo is my favorite view, too! gail

Benjamin Vogt said...

WA--Cat-sized? Must be the NY water quality.
2GA--Thanks! And thanks for stopping by.
Statch--I started raising them indoors last year, my first year with a large garden. It's pretty easy, actually, and fun.
Rob--I appreciate being humored. You have no idea.
Gail--Red stems? Neato!

Pam said...

It really has been amazing to watch your garden grow - I still remember those first images of a bare backyard - and now this! It really is it's own little ecosystem.

IlonaGarden said...

That would my favorite view,too. Lovely.

I spotted one monarch caterpillar earlier this month munching on milkweed. It prefers the common one to butterfly weed. Butterflies seem to have been more scarce this year.

..I'll have to remember to humor you on my next visit to your blog;)