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August 2013 • Southern Rural Route

The Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is generally 3.5 to 5.5 inches in size, ranges throughout Florida (except the Florida Keys) between February and November in open woodland, forest edges, pastures (the Southern Rural Route is surrounded by all three) and meadows. Males are always yellow. Females can be yellow or all black. The females have more blue on the hindwing, … Read More

I don’t like the name given to the Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes). To my naked eye, it does not appear to be a giant in relation to any of the other Swallowtails that frequent my garden. Supposedly, it has an average wingspan of 5.5 inches for males and 5.8 inches for females. I just don’t see it. They should have named it Brown Swallowtail. It ranges from southern … Read More

The Gulf Fritillary butterfly (agraulis vanillae) is generally 2.5 to 3.2 inches in size, ranges year-round throughout Florida in open, sunny areas such as old fields, meadows, pastures and roadsides. Its larval host plants are various passionflower vines including Maypop (Passiflora incarnate), Yellow Passionflower (P. lutea), Corky-stemmed passionflower (P. suberosa), Blue … Read More

If 2012 was the Year of the Monarch butterfly here at the Southern Rural Route, then 2013 was the Year of the Zebra Longwing or Zebra Helaconian. Despite it being the official butterfly of the State of Florida, I have no recollection of seeing them on our property in recent years, if ever. I think they came this year because I had everything they needed: both host and nectar … Read More

Like most everyone else, I like butterflies. In 2012, I started working towards acquiring plants that appeal to butterflies rather than just me – butterfly bush, cosmos, lantana. My most successful acquisition, from my good friend, Cecelia, was a handful of small, common milkweed plants. Milkweeds are both host and nectar plants for monarchs. I planted all of them in the same … Read More

Have I got the gardening tip of the year for you Coneflower fans!  First, for those who don’t have coneflowers in their garden, you might want to consider them because the butterflies preferred the coneflowers to all other butterfly nectar in my garden. All of my coneflowers were grown from seed. I started with seed packets picked up in seed displays.  All of the seeds were … Read More

I don’t want to sound uppity but I know people with chickens. You remember Mr. Beekeeper, right? He’s back in the chicken business. I learned of this on July 25 when my brother-in-law reported that a chicken stood in the middle of our road and did not respond to shooing or horn honking. Knowing my love of chickens, you would think Mr. Beekeeper would keep me apprised of new … Read More