The king of butterflies

Of all the butterflies that have visited my gardens over the years, the Monarch still reigns supreme as my favourite. But this year, it remained incredibly elusive. For the first few weeks of summer, I didn’t see any at all. Then, when I did start seeing them, the did NOT want their picture taken. It seemed I was forever trying to gets pictures and failing.

I took consolation in the fact that I was able to get pictures of them in caterpillar form.

In the garden, I have four seperate milkweed plants… one pink Swamp Milkweed, one Orange Milkweed, and two (volunteer) Common Milkweed. (Which I let grow as soon as I realized what they were).

On those four plants, I counted seven separate caterpillars since mid-August. While I hadn’t seen many Monarchs, they’d definitely been making good use of the Milkweed when I wasn’t around.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see where any of those caterpillars went to build their cocoons. (They can travel up to 30 feet from their milkweed plant.)

But last week, I started noticing A LOT more Monarchs fluttering about the yard. I think it’s mostly because of the White Butterfly bush. I dont know if it’s the location, or just the breed (White Profusion), but it’s easily three times the size of the Dark Knight Butterfly Bush. And it’s just covered in blooms!!!

You can see it reaches over the catio fence, which is seven feet high. It’s grown through the catio fence, and is on both sides. It’s wonderful, but next year, I need to move some plants around to account for its size. But back to the monarchs….

They absolutely adore it! It’s not unusual to come outside and find two or three flitting about at once.

They are busy filling up for the long trip to Mexico, and the Butterfly Bush has lots of fuel for them. And I know there’s no way to tell…

But I like to think that at least one or two of them are former caterpillars that grew up in my garden. And letting me get close enough for a few good shots is their way of saying thanks!

7 thoughts on “The king of butterflies

  1. Patty

    Your butterfly bush is so lush!!! I’ve tried twice in the past to grow them and never came back the following year. So, I gave up on them. I might just try again.
    At least my yard attracts bumblebees and naughty squirrels.


  2. Araignee

    So lovely! I was watching something big and yellow fluttering up among the leaves the other day. I wish I could have gotten a better look. I’m always surprised at how high they get.


  3. Val! Those are amazing photos of both the caterpillers and the Monarchs. I’m SURE some of them are the caterpillers from your yard. I haven’t seen any Monarchs this year, although I did see a little butterfly that resembled one just yesterday while shopping.
    Thank you for sharing these lovely photos with us.


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