On The Lookout For That ‘KISS’ Thingee

I saw one in my garden in April. She was almost fresh, and she was determined. Fortunately, we now have what? 6 Hercules Club young shrubs. Days later, we found 3 tiny Giant Swallowtail caterpillars. It didn’t turn out well, for by some 9 or so days later, they were gone. Predators (birds, lizards, wasps, etc.).

These last years, that I’ve met and enjoyed these graceful, BIG swallowtail butterflies, I’ve been teased by a challenging thought. Their dorsal pattern of bright yellow cells reminds me of something. What?

Opened this image, taken at Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, right here in Eatonton, Georgia, and I got it!

Know I’m a Rock ‘N Roller, so I’m not too conversant with KISS, but is this not like close to looking like their logo? KISS wrought Big?

Me? I expect Giants to reappear by the middle of this very July 2019.

Jeff

Waiting For The Giants

Giant butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Pigeon Mountain, GA

Here we are in the first week of July, and we are waiting. Here in my more than 2 year old natives garden, in Eatonton, Georgia, today was a good day: Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, American Snouts, Buckeyes, and 6 species of Skippers. Those who say that these last months have seen a dearth of butterflies, well compared to last year in the 303 Garden, they are correct.

Jock Stender of Charleston, South Carolina came along this week to see Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, and today they stopped by to see our own 303 Garden. No mind that I was showing him around in 95F heat. It was fun finally meeting him and his friend, and we shared lots about the native plants that I showed him, and the butterflies we found.

We did not, did not, see any Giant Swallowtails today. Fact of the matter is, I’ve not seen a Giant in my sizable garden since March of this year, when a worn female flew in. We later found 3 Giant caterpillars, on their hostplant, Hercules Club. We enjoyed watching them grow, but, alas, they all disappeared shortly after. The usual suspects?

So we wait for the Giants and we watch our Tithonia grow, some of them now 3 feet tall, growing daily to their eventual 7 feet to 8 feet height.

We are some 1.1 miles from Virginia Linch’s Briar Patch Habitat, and when her army of Mexican Sunflowers open, and our platoon of Tithonia open, I have little doubt that the Giants will gracefully float in, and spend hours, sipping the must-be-sweet nectar of those beautiful sunflowers.

Jeff

Eastern Tiger Reminisce

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

I often puzzle over why I remember somethings going back to those lazy, crazy days on the Brooklyn streets. Why do I remember a certain game of punchball, played with maybe 20 kids playing and watching, including Julie Locke, who still stops by here time and again. There were what? hundreds of games of punchball (played by hitting a Pennsy Pinky ball with your fist and running the bases as in baseball), yet I remember one of them?

I remember this guy well. We were at Cloudland Canyon State Park in northwestern Georgia. We found the power line cut that Phil suggested we visit, and yes the Liatris was in full bloom. This male flew in and he stayed there methodically working one Liatris flower spike after another.

He was large, and he was fresh and he was very handsome.

We both shot him out, he fully accommodating our close approach, hardly fleeing. A fine day, and a Shmeksy! Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, reminding us that G-d’s finery is with us.

Jeff

Imbibing Sweet Nectar In The Briar Patch

Male Black Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

The Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) achieved enormous growth there in the Briar Patch. Virginia’s tiny seeds produced 8 foot tall Tithonia. She’d tell you that yes, they were not native to Georgia, but, they were strong, robust sunflowers, easily tolerate the Piedmont’s long bone-dry summers, self-seeded and nourished legions of butterflies, year after year.

I’ve planted Mexican Sunflower here in my own Eatonton garden, and their vigorous growth and absence of pests enables them to provide nurture for butterflies from June to November. For the price of a packet of seeds, you get Tithonia that neatly fills whole corners of your sunny garden spots and summons squadrons of swallowtails, brush foot butterflies, hairstreaks and many skipper species.

I suppose that they must also make fine cut flowers for your home vases, and if grown in your front garden beds, they’ll have your neighbors asking, “What is that gorgeous big flowering plant you’re growing there?”

This Eastern Black Swallowtail is fully involved, methodically working this Tithonia flowerhead. His golden yellow flashes, blue patches and shot of red/red, against black wings and black body handsomely fitted with white spots, works nicely here with the developing Tithonia bud and sweet Tithonia flower, all set in a clump of Tithonia, that blocking the sunlight that brightens the rest of the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat.

The richness of plants and butterfly here is real and as with all we share, the color of it all, real-time.

Jeff

Splendor In The Briar Patch

Earring Series - Blackswallowtail butterflies coupled, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

That morning in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia.

Me? I gaze at this and the several other image captures I scored of this pair of Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterflies and my mind is awash in thought.

She is facing you, and he is below her.

Does this picture evoke thoughts, for you? Be so kind as to share them?

Jeff