Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Swallowtail Cat and Tomatoes!!!

Today's Tomato Harvest....sans the ones my daughter ate. :) The green ones are just Isis Candy tomatoes picked too early by my two year old. In the mix are two Kellogg's Breakfast, one Brandywine, Celebrity, Jet Star, and mystery small red tomatoes that were supposed to be Cherokee Green.After picking these I took a quick stroll through the garden. Wondering what is worth planting again next season and what wasn't. That's when I came across the fennel. I thought, "I planted fennel last season too and never had a black swallowtail use it as its host plant. Here we are again. No swallowta.....Wait! What's that? No way. NO WAY! A black swallowtail cat! Holy cow. Kids! Come look at this!"
He's just over an inch long. On the smallest of the three fennel plants. The second my husband got home I dug up the pathetic fennel plant and transplanted it into a pot. Cat still on it. Placed it in my InsectLore butterfly house. I can't wait to see him metamorphasize into a beautiful black swallowtail. I'm way more excited than my kids. I've been planting asclepias tuberosa, parsley, and fennel. Never found a cat before. Never any damage to the foliage. Today was my lucky day! Below is the best picture of him that my camera would allow. It always wants to focus on something else. It thinks it is smarter than me. Ugh.
Here's his new home for the next couple of weeks. I still need to get some sticks for him to climb up and hang from.
He has just guaranteed that the fennel WILL be back next season.


  1. I have a "mystery" small tomato that was supposed to be a Cherokee Purple! I wonder if they are related, LOL. Mine is very tasty, but full of gel and seeds, and good to eat or make juice, but not for salsa. The vine is huge, I'd say at least 12' tall traveling sideways into the other tomatoes.

  2. My sister who lives close by has had excellant results with her fennel and black swallowtails. I only live a mile from her and didn't get a single one. I've finally gotten monarchs, I had one spicebush which didn't make it, but never any black swallowtails. I had one zebra swallowtail wander by, but no eggs on the pawpaw. But maybe next year once they grow more. Persistance and patience pays off when it comes to the cats, doesn't it! I'm going to plant more fennel next year. just in case :) I envy you your black swallowtails!

  3. Annie's Granny- Our tomatoes might be cousins. :) Mine is only about 5 feet tall. The tomatoes do taste very good though. Not as great as Cherokee Green, but still pretty tasty.

    Aunt Tina- I'm so glad I planted the fennel! You might envy my black swallowtails, but I'm so jealous of your zebra swallowtail. I've never seen one around here, but I don't have any paw paw planted for them...yet. ;)

  4. I came back to say nevermind. LOL I no sooner posted this and went outside and saw a black swallowtail! AND she laid one egg on my dill, then posed for a photo :D Went to sisters and saw another one there, and admired her chrysalis from a black swallowtail. Plus her 3 monarch chrysalis (I have no idea what the plural of chrysalis is!)
    I'm also in PA, near Harrisburg. We do have a native nursery in nearby Hummelstown, so I'm thinking of adding another PawPaw to the two young ones I have now. They are from the same tree, so if I want a shot at growing their fruit I need a different one. I had flooding last week and luckily the pawpaws survived.