Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flowers, bugs and Nasty Neighbors

These are the bushes by the mailbox. They are just ugly old boxwoods that get trimmed into big round humps. Several years ago, I planted some passiflora vines on them because they are in direct sun. I planted Lutea there and it hasn't got much in the way of flowers, but it's native so it grows like a weed (because passiflora are pretty much all weeds.) Anyway, I discovered that the gulf fritillary butterflies didn't care if the plant had nice flowers or not, it will lay eggs anywhere and the cats don't care what type of passiflora they eat. So I spent all that summer (and each since) moving the caterpillars from my nice flowers to the weeds on the mailbox. This works nicely and each summer I have hundreds of butterflies in the yard. I usually have so many by July and August that you cannot get the mail without 3 or 4 or more landing on you as you walk down there.

Well, two years ago, one of the neighbors down the street found out what I had going on down there. They waited until Steve, Miss M and I walked down the street past their house one evening and then headed to my mailbox and stole a few caterpillars and every leaf off the vines to feed their borrowed bugs. They left several dozen (or more) cats to die on my leafless vines. Miss S caught them in the act and begged them not to take every leaf, but they did anyway. We moved the remaining cats to the weeds that I have growing in the backyard (maypops - passiflora caerulea) so they wouldn't die and let them grow into butterflies.

So, you'd think that was the end of the story, but you'd be wrong.
This year, I planted this lovely seedling that my friend sent me (the same one that sent you the water lily) down on the bushes so that I'd have some lovely and colorful flowers as well as the bug food. It worked - they are lovely and bloom profusely for me.
The cats have thrived down there this summer in spite of the rain and I've had butterflies for most of the summer. I haven't had as many this year as usual for some reason - maybe the rain, maybe not - but I've had plenty. I still have dozens of cats and several chrysalis (you don't ever see as many of those as many of the cats hide before they start to change). The other day, the same stupid neighbors walked down and let their kids start pulling the cats, leaves and chrysalis off my bushes. I happened to be driving out of the driveway when they did it and told the kids to keep their fingers off my plants and critters and explained to the parents that they are MY critters and I don't want their kids hurting them. I thought I was pretty clear but about an hour later they were back and had the gall to tell me that, even tho the kids pulled the chrysalis off the bushes and put them in their pockets, they were not hurting anything. This time, I explained in very clear and concise terms that my property is off limits to them and their brats. I suggested that if they wanted it explained better, perhaps the authorities could do it for me. So, I have 5 flowers blooming today and this chrysalis was moving side to side to let me know that there is something living in there and it might be ready to come out for me!

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