Last I posted here I had a newly planted butterfly garden. It grew faster than I imagined, including the milkweed, planted because it is the favorite food of monarch butterfly caterpillars. One appeared in July, but I never saw it as a chrysalis and guessed it became a meal for a bird.
Then something else found the milkweed. Golden aphids began to surround their stems and form mats on their leaves. I tried various methods of ridding the plants of them, careful to avoid anything that might harm butterfly eggs and caterpillars. When leaves started dropping at accelerated rates, I began to think that this part of the experiment wasn’t working (at least for this year).
But while hosing aphids off milkweed stems last weekend, I was very happy to find not one, not two, but three monarch butterfly caterpillars!
After a little more work in the garden, I paused to gaze at the milkweed patch again, and who should stop by, but this beauty:
I watched her flit around the milkweed. She’d go off to other areas of the garden and sometimes venture beyond the fence a bit, and kept coming back to the patch of milkweed. I write “she” because I like to imagine she was laying eggs. She spent quite a long while there, basking in the milkweed, and so did I, basking in watching her.