You know I'm transplanting 'weeds' into pots to see what happens? (Plants on a Pedestal.)
I've come across something which suggests this is cruel and misguided.
|Comma (Polygonia c-album) -Beginning Pupation|
Picture probably worth clicking.
One of the plants is a nettle. I once had a free-standing nettle in the garden and it was lovely; a beautiful shape; lovely leaves. I had intended to transplant this latest, domesticated nettle, into a bigger pot. Maybe a very big one for it to do well. But, what with one thing and another, I've not got round to it and it has stayed small. But, it has flowered. (Maybe for the very reason that it's stressed?) Yesterday morning, I noticed two comma-butterfly-caterpillars walking around on it. I was out all day. When I came back in the evening, one had vanished. The other had suspended itself from one of the branches and was beginning to turn itself into a chrysalis. The wind had got up and it was swinging around in each gust, each tremble. Later in the evening, it looked less . . . I don't know . . . it hadn't done anything new and it . . . sort of didn't look right.
I once watched a cabbage white caterpillar transform itself into a chrysalis. It took several hours but the change was discernible. Every so often, I knelt and watched. It looked painful. It seemed to be turning itself inside out.
That cabbage white was indoors and we left it where it was. At some point (I can't remember how many weeks later - but quite a while) it turned into a butterfly and we came home to find it flying around the house.
Should I bring this comma inside to see what would happen?
I decided against it. What if it came out of its chrysalis when there was no longer nectar for it? Perhaps it planned to over-winter? Commas like nettles. They have also been known to like currants - I have blackcurrants in the garden. The blackcurrants fruited early in the summer. There won't be flowers till next year but their leaves are strongly scented. Maybe this is one of the things which attracted the butterfly to my here.
This morning . . . it is as it was, only a bit . . . dried out? I think it's died.
I don't know.
|This nettle is growing at the front of the house.|
It is much happier than the one in the pot,
despite being right at the edge of the pavement.
The shape of nettle leaves - can any other leaves surpass them?
But one thing struck me as a possibility. This is only a possibility. Don't quote me. (Though if you know the answer - tell me!) (Ditto, why there's a 'w' in 'answer'.) Nettles are gregarious. They share beds. If a comma butterfly were to lay eggs in the middle of a clump (and there can be very big clumps) the caterpillars would be protected from birds and breezes by the natural windbreak of other nettles round about them. They wouldn't swing so much. I haven't tried sitting in a nettle-bed for a while. (I used to crawl between nettles and sit in their summer shade as a child. With thick-ish clothes and wellington boots this is fine - but I seem to remember it was cosy in there). By making my nettle live on its own - I may have killed a comma.
|Had to bring the nettle indoors to take the photograph. (Because of the wind.)|
All the same, this nettle is a block of flats. A snail is living in one apartment. Something else has made itself a tent from its leaves. If I pull them apart to see who it is I'll have another murder on my hands so I'll leave it.
Meanwhile - where shall I plant my nettle? In a bigger pot or in the bare earth?
Oh, gardening dilemmas!