Earlier this year we had the Gulf fritillary butterflies come make themselves at home on my passion vines. Their larvae pretty much defoliated my vines and it was a battle. They seemed to have moved on during the summer, but are now back with a vengeance, once again happily eating my passion vines. They also like flitting around the cypress vines and mist flowers, which is very pretty to watch.
This year the vines produced fruit. We counted eight passion fruit today. I hope the larvae do not like to eat that too.
Last summer I planted passion vines on a trellis behind my raised bed garden. It was an attempt to provide shade from the hot afternoon sun. They did well, but froze back over the winter. This spring they sent out runners and started climbing again, but this year we have an abundance of Gulf Frittilary Butterflies that are seeking out these vines, and their larva apparently love eating it. I am torn between removing them from the vine by hand to save the plants or allowing them to happily eat to their heart’s content and hope the vines recover afterwards. I have settled on doing a little bit of both. If I can keep the vines alive, my hope is that in a few years there will be enough vines to host the butterflies and enjoy the beautiful flowers.
Below are several caterpillars that I picked off the vines with the leaves and flowers they were eating.
Close up of a very hungry caterpillar.
Gulf Fritillary pupa
Gulf Frittillary butterfly on lantana
I like the idea of reduce/reuse/recycle. So when we get a chance to use any of those principals, it is a delight. I built a garden area in the spring using cut limestone we had brought from our house in town when we moved, as well as rock from here on our land. I finally got around to filling it with soil in early July. I moved most of the herbs that I had in pots – basil, oregano, chives, garlic chives,Mexican marigold mint, some irises, day lilies and a few small trees into the bed. Then we built a trellis behind it using some eight foot tall chain link fencing that we had obtained over the years. I planted passion vines and moved the cypress vines over to the trellis hoping that once established, they would provide some shade from the west sun in the afternoon. One of the nice things about the cypress vine is that it re-seeds easily. This will make for a lovely mix on the trellis next year with the large purple passion flowers and small dots of red from the cypress vine.
Side view of garden
View from potting shed
Added a Turks Cap last week. (Malvaviscus drummondii (M. arboreus var. drummondii)
Close up bloom on Turk’s Cap
Narrow bed for vines
Close up of Cypress vine flower
First Passion vine flower
Passion Flower ‘Incense’ (Passiflora hybrid)
I planted a second passion vine that a friend shared from her garden about a week and a half ago. It is finally taking off and I can’t wait to see what the blooms look like.
The main complaint that I have with the new garden bed it that the chickens like to take their dust bath in the dirt. It looks like I will be adding more fencing to the area.