Something amazing (amazing to me, at least) has happened in my garden! For the second year in a row, a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor) has laid eggs on the Aristolochia californica, or pipevine, that grows on the garden arbor.
Yesterday, as I sat in the middle of the path that leads through my fruit orchard/flower garden/chicken’s Garden of Eden admiring the tenacity of the honey bee, I noticed a Swallowtail butterfly delicately touching down on the host plant. I thought, could this be? Could the offspring of last year’s hatching be returning to perpetuate another generation?
When she finished her graceful dance and fluttered out of sight, I walked over to take a look. Inspecting each leaf carefully, I was sure to find a precious deposit, but sadly, nothing.
Then today, as I crouched close to the earth, planting lovely floxgloves and chamomile between the fruit trees, I remembered yesterday’s butterfly. I jumped up, and tripping over my own feet, ran toward the arbor thinking maybe I had just overlooked the eggs. I desperately wanted to know if a gift had been left behind after all.
Sure enough, glowing in the afternoon sunlight, 11 tiny reddish-brown eggs clung to the main stem and a tender leaf petiole, braving the wind that howled up the gully behind our house. Happiness washed over me and I thanked Mother Nature for her generosity. I thanked her for blessing my family with the opportunity to observe the Pipevine Swallowtail life cycle once again.