I’ve been wondering for some time whether or not the single clump of bronze fennel I grow in my garden has been earning its keep.
I don’t really cook with it, and it has grown so large, stretching over six feet tall and several feet wide, at one end of the asparagus bed. Was it really worth having in our smallish garden where every square foot has to produce something edible or medicinal or super special?
I’m deciding it is at least super special. First, I began reading about what a lure it is for all manner of beneficial insects, like:
- parasitic wasps (which parasitize aphids)
- lacewings (they also eat aphids plus caterpillars and many other pests)
- syrphid flies (which eat aphids, thrips, and more and the adults are good pollinators)
- tachinid flies (which target gypsy moths, cabbage loopers, Japanese beetles, armyworms, cutworms, sawflies, codling moths, peach twig borers, pink bollworms, tent caterpillars, & squash bugs)
Then, I spotted dozens of Eastern Black Swallowtail larvae chomping away on it. So, the bronze fennel not only stays, it gets a gold star.
Here is one of the adult Black Swallowtails making a meal out of my Zowie! Yellow Flame Zinnia (which deserves a post all by itself):
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