If You Plant It, They Will Come

July 19, 2010 @ 6:28 am | Filed under:

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.)

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“A little egg lay on a leaf”
Monarchs in Virginia

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8 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Sheila Ruth says:

    Those are incredibly beautiful photos! We haven’t seen any monarchs in our garden yet, although I have seen some tiger swallowtails.

  2. Penny in VT says:

    Stunning. Next year I’m planting a butterfly garden, I’ve already started researching. We have butterflies, but I want more so we can really observe beyond “oh look there goes a butterfly”! We’d like some to stay!

    That photo is amazing. I hope Jane sends it to National Geographic – it’s truly incredible.

  3. Melissa Wiley says:

    Penny, for your side of the country I highly recommend ButterflyBushes.com. They sell small healthy inexpensive host and nectar plants for a wide range of species. Based in PA, I think? Most of what I planted in my butterfly garden in VA came either from them, or from Bluestone Perennials (an Ohio company, I think).

  4. Lindsay says:

    The male has a black dot on each hind wing, and yes, the female’s black bands are thicker. Looks like you have a lady.


  5. Helen says:

    Dear Melissa & JAne – what a gorgeous photos!!!
    I agree with Penny – NG has this option for amateurs photos. Go for it, Jane!
    And I’d love to see Laurie’s photos of the developing Monarch …. does she has a website?
    Hugs & more hugs :):)

  6. Laurie M says:

    I’m very grateful for Lissa introducing me to having milkweed in our yard and our very successful year for caterpillars and monarch butterflies!
    Also glad she was able to take the 5 caterpillars that we just didn’t have plants to feed them.
    I’m saving seeds and hopefully will have many plants and caterpillars & monarchs
    again next year.

    Helen I do have a blog, but haven’t posted there yet.
    If you are on facebook that is where I’ve been posting and updating. Laurie Marr
    on there with a butterfly picture.

  7. Helen says:

    Dear Laurie – I’d love to see your photos! I was looking for you on Facebook – but there are many ladies with your name … please try to find me as “Helen Roman” – I’m the one showing as bumblebee icon 🙂
    My website is: http://www.hmrprint.com/helensphotos/
    Hope to “talk” to you soon on Facebook!
    Best Wishes –

  8. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater says:

    Oh, the newness. These photos make me think of the days each of our children were born. A miracle! This year we blew on lots of seeds, hoping to have lots of plants and many butterflies next year. A.