Monday, August 31, 2009
A Place for Caterpillars
I met two intrepid caterpillar hunters at my local Armstrong Garden Center one hot afternoon. I was shopping plants, they were gathering monarch caterpillars from the asclepias curassavica plants on display on one of the endcaps. Apparently they grow lots of butterfly larval food plants, or go and gather them, and raise lots of butterflies to be released into their neighborhoods. It's hard work because the caterpillars are always eating, and because predators like wasps and spiders are always hunting for a juicy caterpillar unless you protect them with netting. I asked why do nice young men such as yourselves go to the effort to raise butterflies. They said: because we like them, they are beautiful, the neighbors love them. I was humbled by their efforts and have made plans to incorporate even more larval food plants into my own garden this fall.