Posts Tagged 'butterfly'

BBB Seasonal Seesaw

BBB Garden—Seasonal Seesaw Urgency

It’s just past February—Winter in the nation’s southwest coastal zone. The BBB garden has been dry for a while now and blossoming less. There are bare stems and browning leaves here and there. No snow, ice, or hail like the rest of the nation, the BBB garden has been sitting through days and weeks of clear blue skies and dry winds.

Drought tolerant, beneficial insect attracting plants holding to gray, dry and dusty soil, the BBB garden appears to be holding its breath right now and waiting for the invigoration of Spring.
At last, a steady light rain has come—cool, cleansing, refreshing rain that the BBB garden soil drinks greedily into its top layer.

Underneath the moistened, black, top-layer of moist soil, the dryness of Southern California’s drought continues its hold— although we’re getting a couple of inches of rain in February, we’ll only be up to about 70-80% normal rainfall for this area.
So there’s a kind of a seasonal seesaw effect going on in the BBB garden. You can see and sense winter’s dormancy and spring’s urgency all at the same time.

Now, with the rain, the ground is black and wet but still gray and dry at the same time in different places and depths. Some of the plants are nearly bare of leaves, while others are holding on to a few bright flowers. The milkweed still looks pretty bare—just like the monarchs left it in my last post Greek Monarchs.

A little bit barren with just a bit of bloom—the BBB garden is hanging in there, and I’m sure some beneficials are keeping an eye on it just like we are—waiting on the urgency of spring.


Greek Monarchs

The Greek symbol of Ouroboros—the snake eating its own tail—is said to be a symbol of eternal return or regeneration. I couldn’t help but think about that symbol when I saw what the Monarch butterfly caterpillars had done to their Milkweed host in the BBB garden: They ate it up, or at least chewed it down to the stems—the very plant they depend on for survival and regeneration!! Of course, there are a few green stems left indicating that, ultimately, the plant will likely regenerate like the butterfly, too.


It seems ironic, though, that the Monarch is dependent, in order to regenerate, upon the very bush that it consumes, almost, entirely. The problem, here, is I’m not sure if our wandering caterpillars ate themselves completely out of house and home, because I haven’t seen any chrysalidies (chrysilis: butterfly; cocoon: moth) in the BBB garden. There’s a well chewed Milkweed bush left behind and one or two caterpillars still, but not a chrysilis to be seen. Hmmm…I’ll have to do a bit more research on these guys to try to track em down. I have some information that says these caterpillars can apparently crawl 30 – 40 feet away to find a safe spot to pupate   –end- November 08 Duke



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