Gardening Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Caterpillars not really so scary

The first time I met a tomato hornworm caterpillar in my garden I screamed and ran. What was that!?

Huge, pudgy, bulgy and bright green with 100! (well no, just 10) little fat feet; a spiky horn on its head! (no, it’s on the other end, just for show); HUGE! (well, maybe 5 inches …).

So I looked it up and learned that this bulgy creature — over-wintering underground in the tomato patch — will emerge in spring a lovely sphinx moth, wings patterned with soft browns, pinks and creams with fuzzy antennae.

I see them every summer in my flowers. They are important pollinators.

Now each spring I plant an extra tomato plant, just for the hornworms, at the far end of the garden.

I carry them gently to their own plant. Their green pudgy skin is soft, their tiny feet tickle. Sometimes they rear up to look scary but I know better.

Anna Rose Benson


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