Thursday, August 8, 2013

Parsley and Butterflies

A couple of weeks ago,
I noted that green-yellow and black striped caterpillars
suddenly appeared on my lush parsley plant.

They were very hungry:

By the next day, this is what was left:

The third day, most of the plant was gone.

There were only  truncated green stalks poking out of the dirt,
but the caterpillars chomped on.

Their arrival and departure seems like a mystery.
How did they get there without my seeing them?
Did they inch their way up the deck posts,
did they crawl along the deck railing and inch up the side of the pot?

There were two possible clues:
The first is that I saw a robin pluck one of them 
from the grass at the base of the deck.
That caterpillar never got to fulfill its butterfly destiny
since the robin clipped it neatly in half and devoured it in about two seconds.
But the caterpillar's place in the grass 
makes me think it might have inched its way to and from the parsley.

The other clue was this. 
Two caterpillars using the parsley as a bridge to another plant:

I found two of them biding their time in my Joseph's Coat plant:

Fortunately, Joseph's Coat wasn't to their liking and by the end of the day, 
they were gone. But perhaps that indicates they slinked off
the way they came.

It's been about two weeks and the parsley has already grown again.
Somewhere, beautiful butterflies are flitting from flower to flower
or wafting on a gentle breeze, with no hint of their former lives.
The comedian George Carlin said,
"The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity."
I can attest to that.

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