We love companion gardening. We also love using natural techniques to keep harmful insects and pests at bay. This year, we planted extra dill through out the vegetable garden knowing that it can help ward off pests and attract beneficial insects. You can imagine my surprise weeks ago when I discovered these little crawling caterpillars on one of my largest dill plants.
I didn’t have to wait long, as I posted this photo to Facebook as I was standing at the garden gate. When I came inside, you all had answered me! These little ones were friends. One day they would grow up to be beautiful Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies. There were plenty of little ones on the dill, so the kids and I scooped up three and put them in our butterfly house. There they ate and ate and ate! In fact, the three of them ate all 5 dill plants from the garden. They were very hungry.
We went down to the garden center and bought a smaller dill plant that could fit in the butterfly habitat. Hopefully, they would soon begin their metamorphosis. Within a couple of days, we had two beautiful chrysalises clinging to the largest branches of the dill and one had fallen off. I tucked this one back into the branches of the dill.
I had researched and read that sometimes, these butterflies will overwinter in the chrysalises. So, I tucked the butterfly habitat in an outside corner of the house by the garage. I figured that they could remain there all summer and I would just take them into the garage once the weather got snowy. If they even survived.
We went on vacation and returned. It had been 10 days and the chrysalises were still as we had left them. Then, yesterday I discovered two beautiful butterflies fluttering near the top on the habitat. Two must have hatched the night before! Eagerly, we let them out and watched them dance off together into the sky. There is still one left hanging from the dill. I can only hope it will hatch in the next few days.