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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Monarch Butterflies ~~ Life In The Garden

Continuing with yesterday's garden theme, we are so excited...we are the proud helpers of Monarch Butterflies.  It all started many years ago when we went to a plant sale.  Below the tables filled with containers of plants, growing in the dirt was a lonely plant.  The manager offered it to use for free.  Really who can turn down free?  We brought it home and planted it in our garden knowing nothing about it.  Soon it died back, but managed to seed in several areas in our garden.  Since it was pretty we thought OK.  Well about 3 years ago we noticed a caterpillar eating the plant and did a little internet investigation.  Wow, we thought Monarch caterpillar.  We watched and studied it daily and delighted when we found a cocoon in the place of the caterpillar.  Soon we saw a butterfly.   Since then the plant has spread across our backyard and managed to start in our front yard as well.  Twice a year we are the breeding grounds for Monarch's with the numbers growing every year.  We spotted so many caterpillars this year the kids estimate between 30 to 50.  

Looking back the Monarch's came when we rid ourselves of pest control.  We used pest control because of our fear of black widows with little kids; however, we learned to fear the pest sprays and how to smash black widows.  We now find ourselves not only the stop over for Monarch's but also funny preying mantises, lady bugs and many other helpful insects and just a FYI even though we had a pest service we always found black widows alive and well in our backyard.
the yellow you see actually is the most 
beautiful gold like 24 karat
as the butterfly develops the chrysalis turns black

they always stretch their wings on our pool fence

munch munch munch

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