Swallowtail

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Umbrian

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Swallowtail
« on: April 12, 2016, 06:50:35 AM »
Our crazy season weather wise continues - yesterday I saw a lone Swallowtail butterfly - very early. It seemed to be puzzled that it's normal favourite plants were not yet in flower -it did not settle once as I followed its progress round the garden.
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

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Alisdair

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Re: Swallowtail
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2016, 07:55:23 AM »
Carole, we were down in the Greek Peloponnese at the end of last month and the swallowtails were out and about, but at least there were plenty of wild flowers for them
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

Joanna Savage

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Re: Swallowtail
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2016, 09:30:05 AM »
There have been two swallowtails dancing around the garden here in Toscana for about a week. I had placed a new 'rustic' seat near a local fennel plant and was quietly luxuriating in the sun when a swallowtail came to the fennel right beside me. It flittered from one to another of half a dozen branches and then was away. When it had gone I noticed single  green bead like attachments to the fennel and wondered if those might be eggs. I'll be watching closely now to see if the pupae appear.

In quite a reverse fashion the multitude of red admirals have now disappeared. They have been around, on and off in sunny periods since Christmas. They loved the Bergenia flowers which have now finished, so perhaps that part of their life cycle is over too.

Umbrian

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Re: Swallowtail
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2016, 07:13:10 AM »
Swallowtails out in force now and favouring Choisya ' Aztec Pearl' over all other flowers.
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

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John J

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Re: Swallowtail
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2016, 09:44:04 AM »
We have seen very few Swallowtails this year, in fact I could probably count the sightings on one hand, so I was delighted this morning to spot a beautiful specimen basking on a plant support with its wings glowing in the sun. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me and by the time I had dashed in to get it he/she had disappeared.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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MikeHardman

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Re: Swallowtail
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2016, 11:33:59 AM »
Swallowtails have been thin on the ground here too this summer.

Some observations...
Next to my garden/pool shower I have a good bank of Crithmum maritimum, and day-by-day I have been keeping an eye on many growing swallowtail caterpillars. Two died while tiny; moribund in the inflorescence; disease of some sort. Most of the rest grew to a decent size then disappeared - before they were full grown in most cases. So I think predation accounts for the loss of many potential adults (by agamas and/or birds and/or rodents?, methinks).
Of course, the caterpillars also feed on fennel, and I have not been monitoring their progress thereon.

Mike
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

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Charithea

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Re: Swallowtail
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2016, 09:23:47 AM »
Here is a photo of the last  swallowtail caterpillar on their now 'preferred food', parsley.  I have sewn it in a very large area to encourage the butterflies to leave the fennel and crithmum maritimum alone.
I garden in Cyprus, in a flat old farming field, alt. approx. 30 m asl.

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MikeHardman

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Re: Swallowtail
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2016, 11:33:33 AM »
Thea,

That's as nice healthy-looking caterpillar.
Unusual to hear of somebody growing parsley (very edible) as a sacrificial crop to save wild fennel and Crithmum (less edible).  I do hope your endeavour is successful and you are rewarded with clouds of swallowtails.

Mike
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

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Charithea

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Re: Swallowtail
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2016, 04:45:08 PM »
Hi Mike, we grow parsley so easily so there was no sacrifice from our part. The caterpillars decimate the crithmum and it looks ugly!  I used to relocate the caterpillars on to the parsley but now they seem to lay their eggs on the parsley. The fennel is Florence fennel which I use the foliage in sauces and we eat the root when we have sufficient water to water it properly.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 08:55:03 AM by Charithea »
I garden in Cyprus, in a flat old farming field, alt. approx. 30 m asl.