As Summer *Unofficially* Ends, It’s A Party In The Parsley

• • •

This hasn’t been a good summer for our flower beds and shrubs and the flowers in the outside pots of floral prettiness that I insist on scattering around the grounds… until I feel at home.

[Gold star to anyone who gets that reference.]

But on the other hand in the end it’s been a great summer for parsley.  After a slow start the darned stuff has thrived in this hot humid weather.

Each spring I start parsley from seed inside the house, then either add it to my outside pots of floral prettiness as a filler or just put some parsley by itself in a pot to grow.

[It doesn’t spill, it doesn’t thrill, but oh my goodness it does fill.  My parsley-centric adaptation of the classic how-to create an outside pot of floral prettiness.]

I do this because black swallowtail caterpillars, who turn into beautiful butterflies, like to munch on parsley. Oh yes they do.

They have a voracious appetite for it and I’m more than happy to feed them what they need.  ‘Cuz I like to see butterflies flitting around our yard.

Happy Labor Day to everyone who will be celebrating it this weekend. Catch y’all on the flip side, kids.

• • •

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Pleasantly crazy. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Wordy.

109 thoughts on “As Summer *Unofficially* Ends, It’s A Party In The Parsley”

  1. We leave the milkweed in our field for the Monarchs. People have been eradicating it slowly over the years and we don’t see nearly as many butterflies now…
    Parsley? I never knew.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rivergirl, we’ve tried to grow milkweed here but it doesn’t do well. I’m all about Monarchs, but Black Swallowtail Butterflies are fun, too. Not as showy, but if you grow parsley they will find it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would never have thought to use parsley as a filler for a plant arrangement!! That is a very clever idea.
    This summer I have been parsley-less because the spring was so bad I never got around to planting any. I did miss it too 😕

    I’m making a note to myself for next year!

    Happy Labour Day Weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joanne, years ago I stumbled upon the idea of using parsley as a filler and have done so ever since. It’s cheap, it’s pretty, and it helps the butterflies. Plus I like fresh parsley to eat. How many *wins* is that?

      Like

  3. You need to grow parsley every year if only for the reason that A PARTY IN THE PARSLEY is attractive alliteration! But of course, also for the reason that we want to help the butterflies proliferate, and you are doing a fabulous job. Your parsley is PERFECT. I wonder if you cut off a leaf or two to add some seasoning to your party food, also?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pam, I rather liked my alliterative title, too. Thank you for noticing and suggesting that my PARSLEY is PERFECT. I am PLEASANTLY encourage by your kind comment that is decidedly not PARSIMONIOUS.

      And yes some of the parsley finds its way into our food. I like the taste of it and it looks PRETTY. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Before I learned to distinguish monarch and black swallowtail caterpillars, I found what I thought was a monarch in the woods. I kept looking and looking at the plant it was eating, which clearly wasn’t a milkweed. I finally snapped to, and decided it was a member of the carrot family, and sure enough: that led me straight to the swallowtail caterpillar. I’m still not sure about the plant’s specific identity, but it seemed to be as tasty as your parsley.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. shoreacres, I’ve read that these black swallowtail caterpillars like all things carrot, too. And that they’ll eat Queen Anne’s Lace. I imagine all of these plants are related somehow in a botanical way, but I don’t know what it is. I like parsley because I know how to grow it– and like these caterpillars, I think it tastes good.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy long weekend, Ally! Happy to see the caterpillars on your herbs. The swallowtails didn’t show up this year to our garden – I, too, plant parsley and dill just for them. Maybe next summer.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh, how cute and fat they are! I grow parsley every year in the herb garden, and these guys have never shown up. I’m glad, however; I need my parsley for myself.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. nance, I’ll admit that these little caterpillars can devour all the parsley I plant. I have to get my share before they appear. But they charm me every year so I continue to let them eat all the parsley they want.

      Like

  7. I always plant parsley and I’ve never seen caterpillars of any sort on it. Hmmmm…This year it’s in a pot on the patio so it’s convenient for cooking along with a basil plant. The basil is blown now but the parsley will be wonderful until a very hard frost.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kate, you’re the second commenter to say they grow parsley but don’t have these caterpillars. Around here they are a given. Our basil is leggy now and looks pathetic, but the parsley is looking strong– well, the part that hasn’t been devoured by caterpillars… yet.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, milkweed is difficult to grow here, but parsley thrives. If nothing else should you grow parsley and if no caterpillars show up, you’ll have parsley to eat. Win-win!

      Like

  8. Lovely long weekend to you Ally Bean! No parsley or caterpillars here and my flowering plants all seem to be folding it up already for autumn. Maybe they know something I don’t about what’s ahead in the weather department.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Deb, it’s gotten cooler here too. We usually don’t have these temps for another month. I wonder if this is going to be a long difficult winter? Best enjoy this weekend for all it offers.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Gorgeous pic of chubby stripey catepillars there Ally 🙂 I had no idea parsley was so good for butterflies but I admit to adoring a swallowtail (my mother – in her ignorant youth – used to collect butterflies and they were always my favourite).

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Sounds like a pleasant party at your place! I’ve never had swallowtail caterpillars on my parsley. Finally got some milkweed to grow here. Maybe the monarchs will come (though we’re not in one of their major flyways).

    I like that idea of using parsley as a filler. My flower pots look horrid this year. Just about everything has died.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eilene, from comments here I’m getting the impression that the caterpillars on the parsley phenomenon is regional. We’ve tried to grow milkweed here but with little success. Using parsley as a filler in pots is easy, cheap, and pretty. [I tried using basil this way, but it took over the pot so never again with that idea.]

      Liked by 1 person

  11. learn something new everyday. I didn’t know that caterpillars like parsley… I may need to plant some next year. this year I’ve been all into doing things to attract the hummingbirds. next year I want to work on butterflies too

    Liked by 2 people

    1. teacherturnedmommy, I love seeing hummers around. So cute. I’ve been working on getting butterflies around here, but so far my attempts have been hit or miss.

      Like

    1. marian, I’m glad that you find this post lilting. That’s a good thing in my estimation. This is, after all, a personal blog. Yes, try parsley as a filler. Start it from seed and you’ll have a whoping $3 or $4 invested in your experiment.

      Like

  12. When I gardened back home in CO, it was the fennel that attracted the ‘cats’ – caterpillers (HA!) Also, I used to leave seed pods of purple cone flower as an example for the birds to munch on over the winter…a great excuse for quitting deadheading after a long prosperous gardening season, ‘gotta leave em for the birds!!!’
    And I’d always leave the later arugula out to seed as once planted it re-sows itself like a weed – insuring arugula every year.
    Anyway, been away from gardening too long – now I’m pontificating…hummmm ‘pontificating at the party in the parsley’ has a nice ring to it, eh?
    Have a great Labor Day weekend filled with ‘cats’
    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. laura, fennel you say? That’s interesting to know. Some years we leave the coneflowers alone for the winter, other years we cut them down in the fall. I’ve never grown arugula, but the whole idea of re-sowing is a good one. Yay Mother Nature.

      Nicely pontificated, btw. Have a good weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This summer has been a very frustrating one for me – even my parsley is sour! But on the plus side and knock on wood, the temperatures have been cooler than usual and we haven’t had any major fires.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joey, I’m getting the impression that the parsley caterpillars are regional. Other commenters have said the same thing as you, they grow parsley but have no caterpillars. I’ve no answer as to why this is.

      As for your gold star, the reference is a kind of poetry as in music lyrics… 🤔

      Like

  14. I had the same photos, Ally, and those swallowtail cats ate every last bit of my parsley! Hungry little buggers. I didn’t get a chance to school them on the rules of farm share. Happy to feed them regardless. They were beauties.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam, I’m laughing here. I love your idea that you can school caterpillars on the rules of farm share. I agree with you– I love to feed them so that I get to see the butterflies. It’s fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I really like your first photo, Ally. New information for me about the caterpillars and the parsley. I am not a gardener, although I am an appreciator of gardens and flowers and vegetables and butterflies. A thank you to my gardener aka husband. Thank you for sharing, Ally:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Erica/Erika, the caterpillar/parsley connection might be regional because many commenters have said that they grow parsley and no caterpillars appear. I learned about this connection when we moved here 20+ years ago. That was when I was first getting into gardening & I figured the caterpillar/parsley connection was universal, but it’s not. So there you have it, I’ve learned something with this post, too. And I like that!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, I hope your milkweed grows. We tried it here, a couple of different varieties, and none did well. I haven’t given up on it yet because I want Monarchs, too. I just need to find the right kind of milkweed, I’m sure of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ally,
    We have a small pond and in the summer, we get the most beautiful dragonflies. However, it’s been a long time since I had an herb garden. I remember the dill used to attract the butterflies…and now after reading this…I want another herb garden. Thanks for the inspiration, Ally! I think I’ll have all fall and winter to plan just exactly what I want and, hopefully, next year, I’ll get dragonflies and beautiful butterflies! Maybe I’ll even take pictures if I can. Mona

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mona, I’d love to see dragonflies in my backyard, but they are a rarity here. I like seeing butterflies and if parsley is what they crave, so be it. Next summer I’ll try dill– a few commenters have mentioned how it’ll bring in more butterflies. Sadly our attempts at milkweed have been a flop.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Well, I’m definitely adding parsley to my pots next year!! We had so much milkweed at our old house and I’ve been slowing trying to add bee/butterfly friendly plants. Black swallowtails ARE gorgeous.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. katie, if you can add the parsley it’s an easy inexpensive way to get pretty butterflies to show up. Or at least it is around here. Other commenters have said this isn’t a thing where they live. Apparently butterflies be picky.

      Like

    1. Neil, I put parsley in lasagne, the ricotta part. I also like to eat it. Did you know that when restaurants put parsley on your plate it is for more than show– it’ll cleanse your breath after eating? That’s why it is there.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Your butterfly photo was gorgeous
    And-
    How kind of you to supply them he parsley!
    And did you know that if you heat some in a pot off water and then let sit for a while – strain it and then drink the water – it is good for kidneys
    And it is god for
    Digestion with Vitamin K and maybe “DIM” (I know cabbage has DIM) anyhow – I have not had parsley in a while and might get some from my small pot tomorrow – mmmm

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yvette, I didn’t know how to make parsley tea but I’ll try it– if the caterpillars don’t eat it all first, of course. I’m sure my kidneys would like it. So many fun things to do and know about parsley. And it’s so easy/cheap to grow. Win-win.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And one more thing- I have done a lot of different cleanses over the years – since 2002
        – and one I did from Hulda Clark came with a bottle of parsley filled capsules – for kidney support before cleansing (I think before) and it was on that protocol that she also suggested the parsley water – anyhow – I am going to plant more next year to help the butterfly population- we have a lot of little yellow butterflies this year – 🦋😊but would like all kinds

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Who knew Parsley was a triple charmed plant: good for cooking and eating, good for caterpillars/butterflies and good for landscape spots. Nice you are the local caterpillar market.
    Hard to believe it’s already milkweed time again. My butterfly feeder, Lantana, sure has been lazy this year with few blooms – been pruning and feeding it some recently hoping to jump start it before the monarchs arrive. A few hummingbirds arrived last week. Nice to watch all nature’s little travelers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. philmouse, I didn’t know about the parsley/caterpillar connection until we moved here. Since then I’ve done my part. We’ve tried to grow milkweed but it hasn’t done well. We have a newly cleared area adjacent to the forest primeval that I’m hoping will be a good spot for it. We’ve had few hummers this summer which is odd. Next year I’m going to overdo it with red flowers. Love to see those little birdies out and about.

      Like

  20. Well I learned several things tonight Ally. I didn’t know the reference “until I feel at home” so I had to Google it and I didn’t know butterflies liked parsley either. That was a great photo of the Swallowtail caterpillars making goo goo eyes at one another! And a beautiful shot of the Black Swallowtail on the bloom. At least the heat and humidity made you lots of parsley and eye candy to boot. A few more weeks and all of these lovelies will be gone to warmer climes … it is only us Midwestern folk who decide to stick around, even though “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” scares us with their Winter predictions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. linda, my reference [which I really shouldn’t have put in this post because it was too wacko] was to the lyrics from “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel.

      We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files
      We’d like to help you learn to help yourself
      Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes
      Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home

      For your ingenuity in trying to figure out what the heck I was talking about I give you a 🌟

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the star Ally. I never associated it with the “Mrs. Robinson” song, which I could probably sing along without missing a beat since I’ve heard it so many times. I Googled and found a saying at the Tiny Buddha site.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. I’ve scrolled to the bottom of the encouraging comments to see that Linda Googled the ‘until I fee at home’ reference too – she didn’t elaborate so…now I wish I could come up with something profound to say…nope, I’ve got nothing. Except that I’m looking forward to next Spring when I can plant some parsley and see what happens in my yard! 🙂

    Like

    1. Shelley, my reference was much too obscure but I say it to myself every so often so I tossed it into the post. What I was talking about were the lyrics from “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel.

      We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files
      We’d like to help you learn to help yourself
      Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes
      Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home

      For your endless curiosity I give you a 🌟

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad I asked…I REMEMBER that scene! Now I feel even more at home here being able to ask and receive the answers to life’s burning questions. 😉

        Like

  22. I’ve tried milkweed and it does not do well for me. If I try parsley, the caterpillars will eat it and make it look like crap, right? So I should just put it in its own container, knowing that that will happen if they come?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. J, we’ve had no luck with milkweed. Yes, if the caterpillars show up they’ll eat the plant down to nothing. But around here the caterpillars don’t arrive until late August so the parsley looks pretty as a filler in pots with flowers until then. Also some commenters have said that where they live they grow parsley without ever getting caterpillars. So there you have it– information about as clear as mud. 😉

      Like

    1. Judy, for the price you can’t go wrong with parsley. Around here the caterpillars show up late August so once they eat down the parsley, I’m ready for something new in the pots. Win-win.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.