Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Accommodating Pipevine Swallowtails

To what lengths should a gardener go to accommodate wildlife, like butterflies for example? I felt badly a few years ago, because I squashed most of the pipevine swallowtail caterpillars on my Asian species of Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia manshuriensis). My vine was small, and I didn't want it ruined, but I did spare a few caterpillars. I didn't see any for the next couple of years, so when they finally returned this year I let them have their way with my vines. You can see the result in the picture above. (Click on the picture to see it full sized.)Most of the damage was done late in the season, so the health of the vines will not be adversely effected. If my vines were more prominently displayed I may have been more concerned about the appearance, but so what. In my lifestyle garden theme I accommodate minor inconveniences like the feeding of pipevine swallowtail caterpillars. All things considered it is the preferable approach.

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