Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fall Flutterings

Scarlet Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, is planted in various locations throughout My Garden Path with the specific intent of attracting the Monarch butterfly. 

Because the voracious caterpillars defoliate it to the bare stems, it is tucked behind other plants and in out of the way places.  Here, it is in a small space between the air conditioning unit and the wood fence.

These hungry caterpillars made quick work of gobbling up this clump of the Milkweed.  Because this Monarch baby nursery is next to the veggie bed, I've been able to enjoy watching the progression of the Monarch life cycle these last few weeks as I tend to the fall garden.  

It is rare that I find a chrysalis.  But here I found two!   It is so amazing to watch the green turn to clear and be able to see the newly formed butterfly within. 

Watching the changes of these chrysalides as I went about watering and harvesting from the veggie bed was such an amazing experience.  I never tire of seeing all the intricacies of God's creation. 

How happy I was to not have missed the debut of the newest Monarch at My Garden Path!


  1. I always loved this Milkweed because of the butterflies, but have not a one left after our super cold winter last year. I always enjoyed finding the chrysalis too.

    Enjoy your lovely gardens.

    Love your header picture.


  2. Love this series of photos,Kay. Seeing this miracle of transformation never ceases to thrill me.

    I keep my milkweed in the way back garden also. It is multiplying on its own so once in a while I'll find one cropping up elsewhere. They are easy to transplant by lifting root and all and returning to the back where they can be chewed away.

    Great post.

  3. Oh, NanaK, this is awesome! What an amazing thing to witness. Despite the occasional caterpillar I encounter and the oodles of butterflies in this garden, I've yet to run across a chrysalis. What a wonderful thing that would be to witness! Perhaps I need to plant some milkweed....

  4. FlowerLady - My milkweed re-seeds freely and I'm always pulling up new seedlings in the spring to move to the back of the bed. I just collected some seed pods the other day before the wind could scatter their contents. If you would like me to mail you some seeds contact me through my profile e-mail.

    Meems - I rarely see the chrysalis stage so this was a special treat.

    Floridagirl - I always see lots of caterpillars and then they disappear. There are always lots of butterflies so I like to assume they are from my cats, but wasps abound around here so I never know. Seeing these caterpillars through the process was very heartening for me.

    Terra - Sometimes I think the creatures that visit my garden are the best thing about it.

  5. Fantastic photos!!!I haven't been lucky enough to see a monarch chrysalis,even tho we have plenty of milkweed.We have seen Swallowtails tho.I plant parsley just for that reason.And it is incredible to watch them emerge!

  6. ChrisC - I just met a lady who raises caterpillars of all kinds on her back porch and she uses parsley for the Swallowtails. She said June was their best time for laying eggs. I'm going to be adding parsley to my herb pots.


Thank you for travelling down My Garden Path with me. I love hearing from you. Please leave a comment and share what is going on in your gardens.