Garden Bloggers Bloom Day


                                                                                                                                                    North Berm with Castor Bean and Hibiscuses



                                                                                                                                                                        ‘Diana’ Rose of Sharon


                                                                                                                                                                   Texas Star Hibiscus, H. coccineus



                                                                                                                                                 PeeGee Hydrangea with Red Banded Hair-Streak

Creature Feature

Here are some of the creatures attracted to the host  plants that I include in my garden as an invitation for the butterflies and moths. The first is the hagmoth caterpillar in an unusual color. The moth it metamorphoses into is small and not often seen. The caterpillar is usually brown with long hair, said to imitate a cast off tarantula skin.

Small Hagmoth caterpillar

The Spicebush Butterfly is a beautiful black swallowtail. The host plants are spice bush and sassafras. My spicebush is only 7 inches tall, but it had 3 caterpillars on it. I moved them to a small sassafras tree so they could continue developing. This morning, when I checked, there were two more small caterpillars besides this one which is mature and should change into a chrysalis soon.

The spicebush caterpillar is one of the most endearing with its green color and cute eye-spots.

The last caterpillar is a new one on me. It is called the Milkweed Tussock caterpillar and I found it on my Swamp milkweed. They  have so many hairs of different colors that they look like little bits of yarn moving around. At first, they are all clustered together where the eggs were laid and as they mature, they move off. The moth they metamorphose into is a medium-size tan moth with a large yellow abdomen with black spots on it.

These milkweed tussock caterpillars look like bits of yarn moving around the swamp milkweed.

This is the best time to observe caterpillars, so get out in your garden and start looking. Better yet, take a child with you. They love creepy crawlies as much as I do.