Today at the Farmer’s Market I picked up some bronze fennel. I used to have swathes of the stuff, but over the past couple of weird winters it’s died out. Which is sad, because not only is it very pretty, but swallowtail butterfly caterpillars LOVE it.
Which brings me to today’s lesson in beginner’s heartedness:
When I bought it, the guy selling said it was all he would have this year. I said Yeah, the black swallowtail caterpillars eat it up. He said They do — just eat it to the ground. Then he looked it at me and laughed.
You buy it on purpose for that, I guess?
I do, I replied w/ a sheepish grin. I plant it in w/ my parsley, to feed the larvae. He shook his head.
Thankfully they don’t eat my parsley, he said. But it’s not flatleaf; it’s ornamental.
They love my flatleaf, I told him. They can strip a plant in a day.
I know, he said dryly. I know.
And that, folks, is today’s lesson in looking at things from various perspectives. One man’s pest is another’s butterfly…