Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Defoliation

Large Grass-yellow Butterfly caterpillar

When you have caterpillars you have to expect to lose a few leaves.

This caterpillar and four or five little mates are busy at it in one of my (fairly) newly planted breynia bushes.

And that is the trouble. Neither of the breynias have been in the ground for longer than about four months. And here we are already supplying sustenance to these cheery butterflies-in-waiting.

Sometimes in these situations it is difficult to know what to do. Get rid of a couple of caterpillars to save the bush and a couple of the caterpillars? Or let nature take its course and let all the caterpillars starve? Or let the bush die from lack of leaves and replant in the spring? Got any thoughts on this?

I thought it was too late and/or too early for butterflies to reproduce now, in the cold of May, but the authors of Create More Butterflies consider it normal so I must too.

I quote, 'They breed one last generation before winter. Then hide in the shrubbery to emerge on sunny days to sip nectar from Arrowhead Violets and other flowers.' page 26

That is a bit of a worry, because the arrowhead violets haven't flowered yet. Maybe they will this winter. If only we had a bit more sun. As it is we're having more rain and cloud than sunny winter days.

I'd like to get onto some more serious things but neither my old Lumix camera nor my phone-camera is giving up its harvest of photos to my computer for some still unfathomable reason. And so I still have a  dismembered snake in the fridge, against the time I work out the problems with the technology and can take the required shot for that awful story.

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