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Parsley explosion a boon to swallowtails

photo by Patrick M. Burke; fingers by Donna Nathan

The parsley just went crazy this spring and my partner and I were considering our options. Unlike strawberries, mint and limes, which we can always find use for (mojitos!), parsley always seems to overproduce.

We tried to give it away, but the reception was tepid. We thought to freeze it -- why, I have no clue -- and then there was an idea that maybe we should just cut it down and move on with our gardening lives.

Then nature gave us an answer. It seems that Swallowtail caterpillars, the larvae of those gorgeous big black and yellow butterflies (we LOVE butterflies and hummingbirds) thrive on parsley and its kin (carrot tops, Queen Anne's Lace, dill, celery...) and several had decided to dine on the parsley patch that choked up our herb garden.

Patrick Burke submitted this photograph to NolaVie.