Thursday, June 23, 2016

Butterfly Garden Notes, June 23, 2016

As I was arriving home yesterday and walking towards my bungalow, I was treated to this female monarch nectaring on milkweed on my front porch.  Of course I threw all my bags down and ran as fast as I could to get the camera.  I’m not sure how long she’d been there before I got there, but later I saw there were new monarch eggs on the milkweed on the patio.  I still can’t get over the fact that I’m getting all these butterflies and caterpillars considering how small my garden is and everything is in pots.  Not to mention the front porch faces east, so it’s shaded until afternoon when the hot afternoon sun blares down on it.  Plus my patio isn’t exactly ideal either.  The size is only 4’x10’ and the entire thing is enclosed by four tall walls with an open top (no roof).  I did the best I could by placing all the milkweed and host plants on the very top of my plant shelves in the hopes the butterflies would see them if they flew high enough.  Low and behold, they are finding my garden!  Yay!

I made another discovery last night too.  There is a passion flower vine growing from the ground in front of the house.  I used to have more of this until the landlord ripped it out and turned part of our tiny yard into a gravel pit.  Luckily before the vine was destroyed, seeds were scattered and it came back again.  I know this is a host plant for fritillaries, so I was happy to see it grow back.  Anyway, I saw the vine had started attaching itself to the milkweed so I pulled it off and was going to train it in the opposite direction.  After I pulled it out from behind the milkweed, I saw a caterpillar hanging upside down, curled up as if he were going to soon begin to pupate.  Oops!  I felt so bad disturbing him.  I had no idea he was there.  I gently took the vine and tried to place it back in the same position I had found it.  I guess I’ll just have to let it wrap around the milkweed for now.  This morning I checked on the caterpillar and he was still there hanging in a J.  I hope he turns into a chrysalis today.


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