The best part of summer is when the garden comes alive with butterflies. By a happy coincidence, one entire section of my garden is covered with verbena bonariensis- so this summer I am playing host to a good number of black swallowtail butterflies.
There is no coincidence that this type of butterfly is so common in my garden- although not a particularly rare butterfly, I have purposely been attracting it with my “dill sanctuary” behind our grill. According to a book that every gardener should have to recognize friend and foe, Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David L. Wagner, their caterpillars enjoy dill and carrots and queen anne’s lace. In my first year in this house, my abundance of dill attracted the butterflies and their caterpillars. When I noticed the caterpillars I resolved to provide a dill sanctuary in hopes of keeping these black beauties around every summer- this year I have seen more of these butterflies than anything other than cabbage moths! Success!
Remember that if you want to grow butterflies, you need to be insecticide free. And check out your caterpillars- they might just grow into something beautiful!