I don’t think I’ve written about the Monarchs since they returned to us. Only a month ago, I was fretting over their absence—we had a profusion of milkweed in bloom but not a single butterfly at that point, compared to dozens the year before. A day or two after that post, voila. We’ve had a steady stream of ‘pillars and butterflies ever since.
My friend Laurie took up Monarch gardening this year, too. She has been taking amazing photos of every stage of development. Her milkweed attracted so many egg-laying females that the caterpillars chewed it practically to the ground. Laurie found four or five of them roaming the yard in search of food, so she brought them here where we had plenty of leafy plants left. Operation Caterpillar Rescue!
We’ve only brought one cat inside this year, the female (I think female—thicker veins, yes, Laurie?) above. Jane took the photo above just minutes after this lovely creature emerged from her chrysalis.
So that’s two states in which we’ve helped reinvigorate the Monarch populations. Yesterday evening I watched my younger children chase floating milkweed seeds across the backyard, laughing, spinning, leaping, clapping. The invigoration works both ways, it seems.
(Photo from last summer.)
You’ve come a long way, baby.
Booknotes: The Dangerous World of Butterflies
Our Backyard Gave Us a Going-Away Present
Can You See the Caterpillar in This Photo?
Butterflies, or: The Benefits of Strewing