This spring I had the fortune of witnessing an emergence, or rather seeing the result of one, the chrysallis I had sheltered all winter was split open at the top and a small black swallowtail butterfly was gently fanning its wings perched on the screened windows of my back porch.
I had seen the female black swallowtail last August as it lingered by my fennel plant- not knowing why it was on fennel that had no blossoms I did some research and realized fennel (along with parsley and dill) is one of the host plants to the caterpillars. Much later - after keeping an eye out for it- the caterpillar was large enough to recognize and I took it in to offer it what protection and hospitality I could.
Finally late in the fall it went into pupae state emerging on Sunday, May 10th to my surprise and delight. Since then I have seen it twice in my backyard checking out the yard and hopefully noticing that, earlier than ever before, I have planted large fennel plants hoping for another guest this year. Guess you could say I don't have a butterfly garden I have one for caterpillars.
Here is a short video of the black swallowtail one day old on the back porch before I set it free.
Holding the just emerged black swallowtail.