Well, if you follow me, you know I love butterflies and they generally love me. They dance and pose for me and they visit me out back every morning. However, I had a front yard butterfly dilemma this past month when huge brown and orange caterpillars began to feed on one of my favorite plants, the Dutchman’s Pipe. I planted it two years ago and have babied and nurtured it into a six-foot tall, full, gorgeous vine that was producing tons of these flowers. Although it is a tropical plant, it even survived a Florida winter, where we do occasionally get a frost.
When I saw the ugly caterpillars, I didn’t know what to do. Obviously, I couldn’t kill them since I love butterflies. Well, I picked some of them off the plant but then decided to wait it out because Monarch caterpillars live on my Passion Flower vines and that plant has done well, even if the leaves do get chewed. I did do research and learned that these new caterpillars would be Goldrim Swallowtails and they don’t eat leaves, they suck the sap from the vines.
Now, I was worried. Eventually they turned into butterflies and flew away, not even one photo op. The vines were weakened but with some pruning and plant food, the plant seemed to recover. What I wasn’t expecting was another big old batch of caterpillars, but that’s what I got. I knocked as many off as possible, but when I left for a few days and came home, the vines were dead with only a few leaves left alive. Again the caterpillars had blossomed into butterflies, but I never even saw one of the murderous beauties. Gone. No thank you, nothing.
I was so sad that the caterpillars had destroyed such a beautiful, healthy plant, a plant that I really love. I have been feeding and nurturing it again, but I don’t think it’s going to recover. Although a few leaves remain, the twisted vines are brown and withered. I went out there today and a large butterfly flew around me and I instantly recognized it from the research I had done on the caterpillars.
It wouldn’t hold still for pictures but it actually let me hold it and it stayed in my hand for a minute. It was pretty, but I wanted my plant back. I told the one returnee that it better not be dropping off more babies, but it seemed to have a devil may care attitude and it didn’t show any remorse for having killed the Dutchman’s Pipe. I am going to try to find another Dutchman’s Pipe to plant but I don’t know if I can protect it from these ravenous creatures. It flew around my Ivy plant, which also has vines and checked it out for a while. I don’t think so. That plant is coming back in the house.
Today I will get up out of bed and
I will tuck my pain inside a pretty box.
I will close the cover and I will leave my pain there.
Today I will thank God that I can move and that I can walk.
Today I will exercise my body and I will feed my soul.
Today I will enjoy the flowers in my delightful garden.
Today I will give thanks for all that I have gained and
I will send into the clouds the pain for all that I have lost.
Today I will give a piece of my time to someone else.
Today I will not say any negative
words to myself or to anyone else.
Today I will not acknowledge or take into my heart any
negative words that are spoken to me.
Today I will feel the earth beneath my feet, I will let the sun
warm my soul and I will connect with the spirit of life.
Today I will open my mind, my heart
and my soul to all that I can create.
Today I will ask God to touch and surround
both my loved ones, and my enemies,
with angels as they walk their own path.
Today; if I dare forget to be grateful,
I will take out the memories of each
of my children’s and my grandchildren’s hugs and
I will let the memory of their precious faces surround me.
I will be busy today.