Cats on Monday


It was a foodie weekend for many celebrating Father’s Day with cookouts, picnics and fine dining.

It’s been a ‘foodie weekend’ for many creatures in our garden, too.  From deer munching a favorite blooming Hydrangea and goldfinches grabbing a few ripening Basil seeds, to finding rabbits had eaten some vines out of pots at the Botanical Garden; I’ve been coming across many signs of hungry animals picnicking in the garden.


I found several very well-fed rabbits picnicking in the Williamsburg Botanical Garden yesterday.


Our fennel is hosting these beautiful black swallowtail cats this week.  It won’t be long before they retire to their chrysalides, only to emerge later in July as beautiful butterflies.  We can hope to host three generations of swallowtails a year here in coastal Virginia.



I think of the butterflies, birds, and other creatures as our garden ‘guests,’ and plant the garden with a thought to their comfort and feeding.  I’m so delighted to spot a hummingbird on a blossom, hear the bees in the shrubs, watch a dragonfly sparkling in the sunshine, or hear the birds call to one another in the trees.

Ours is a wildlife garden, which is what it needs to be here in our wooded neighborhood.


One of our cats noshing the fennel on Friday evening.  He certainly has grown over the weekend!


We are glad to provide host plants, nectar plants, water and shelter for the many creatures that share the garden with us.  The fennel and parsley will soon grow new leaves to replace those grazed by the cats.



Our butterfly species are dwindling. We can all lend a hand to help protect them and increase their chances of survival, so that our children and grandchildren will still enjoy the magic of watching them in their own future gardens, too.


There are many butterflies and moths native to Virginia and all of them are currently in decline. We have a network of dedicated butterfly enthusiasts in our area who rescue and raise cats, releasing the butterflies into the wild as they emerge. By protecting the butterfly larvae, they help insure that more individuals make it to the adult butterfly stage, mate, and increase the population.  This black swallowtail was released in our garden by a friend in mid-April. We hope to host many, many generations of its young.


Woodland Gnome 2019


About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

6 responses to “Cats on Monday

  1. Love the photos – love even more that you’re providing habitat for our winged friends

  2. Fabulous that you and others are raising/hosting butterflies and their cats. Good work! Btw, you should see how large my milkweed patch has grown. From half a dozen plants a few years ago to a spread about 15′ across. The banquet is laid, may the Monarchs arrive soon!

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