Ogling an Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Black Swallowtail butterfly and chrysalis, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch, Eatonton, GA

Forget that it’s cool and raining this afternoon here in Macon, Georgia. Right out my window here, are those dozens of 1-year old Georgia native shrubs, trees and perennials. It’s not my native Brooklyn, not Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, my home for those 27 years. In just 2-3 weeks, the weather here in central Georgia’s Piedmont region, will change. Afternoon temperatures here will reach the high 70’s Fahrenheit.

Those new plants, found last year at the superb Georgia nurseries: Nearly Native Nursery (Fayetteville, GA), Night Song Natives (Canton, GA), Nikki Taylor’s Nursery (Lizella, GA), GMC Native Plant Education Center (Warner Robins, GA) & Beech Hollow Wildflower Farm (Lexington, GA) will brighten our days, lighten our smiles.

This image of an Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly, out of its chrysalis and awaiting the summer’s morning sun’s rays, this photo stops me. I stop and ogle. The beauty here? It just gets me thinking of how magnificent G-d’s creations are.

Where? The Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I, in its original Eatonton, Georgia location. Reason enough to get your fennel, dill, parsley plants ready. The chance of finding a fresh Eastern Black Swallowtail in your own garden?

Jeff

While Planting A Large Hercules Club Today . . .

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly on Tithonia photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

We came home from Nearly Native Nursery (Fayetteville, Georgia, just south of Atlanta) with a large Hercules Club. What a terrific addition to our 800 garden. Hercules Club grows to become a small tree, and it is a hostplant for that amazing butterfly of the South, the Giant Swallowtail butterfly.

We now have 2 Hercules Club plants, and the excitement builds, for several days ago, while the large Hercules Club was still in its large bucket, a female Giant came along and I watched, pleased as a peach, while it returned again and again to lay eggs on the Hercules Club, though it was still in bucket!

Searching through our Media Library, I’ve chosen this image to share, an image of a Giant Swallowtail nectaring on a Tithonia bloom (Mexican Sunflower) in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. Just hours ago we set that sizable plant into the ground here, added sand to the soil (they enjoy soil with sandy texture) and I so look forward to the years ahead, with our 2 Hercules Club plants, and we hope a steady stream of Giants flying gracefully in the deposit their eggs and to nectar on our 800 Tithonia, Zinnias, Joe Pye, Bricktellia, and so much more.

Jeff

Welcome Palamedes!

Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

We had one Palamedes Swallowtail visit our Eatonton, Georgia natives garden. That was exciting. Though Glassberg cites the Palamedes as a “Stray” some miles from the northernmost range it occupies, Eatonton was well placed for a Palamedes ‘stray.’ We had no Redbay or Laurels, its hostplants, and our one visitor only passed through.

We’re now two months here in Macon, miles farther south in Georgia. We continue to not feature Laurels or Redbay here, but Sunday’s trip to Jim & Debi’s Nearly Native Nursery may, who knows, change that!

This Palamedes was at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in the Florida Panhandle. We never Photoshop our images, and the stark Beauty of this Palamedes so electrifies me!!

Jeff

Jewelry On Gossamer Wings?

Tropical leafwing butterfly (Dorsal view) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

She was close to the trail when we spotted her. They were excited to spot her, but not nearly as excited as I was. John and Nancy ID’d her as a Tropical Leafwing. They tamped down my rush! saying that this butterfly was seen there, at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, near the border wall often.

She denied any approach by camera, and flew, stopping on this small tree. She remained perched there, and we again approached. This was the best that my Macro- lens could score, and that was just fine with me.

Their hostplants are crotons. I’ll never get a Tropical Leafwing in my Eatonton, Georgia garden, but we’ve planted 7 Alabama Crotons, hoping that in 2020 or ’21 we’ll lure Goatweed Leafwings to pay us a visit. We purchased the strong, vital Alabama Cortons at Nearly Native Nursery in Fayetteville, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Jim and Debi there are engaging, knowledgeable natives experts, and their nursery stock is 100% native and of very high quality.

She remained in that little tree for some time. I remember standing there, impressed by her unique deep orange coloration, and Thanking G-d there and then for sharing such Heavenly beauty, with those gossamer finely crafted wings.

Jeff