Last evening I was showing off my garden to my friend Nancy. While we were walking around the yard, Nancy spotted a fully grown Monarch butterfly spreading its wings out on the lawn. Worried that we or my dog might destroy it in a misstep, Nancy gently picked it up and put it onto a milkweed stalk in my garden.
We checked it first thing this morning to find it still on the milkweed in the same position. I noticed that the colors of this Monarch were exceptionally defined and so bright– unlike the two I had seen flying in my garden this week. This makes me believe we ‘rescued’ the first of my Monarch brood to hatch from its chrysalis. I can report now that we have seen it fly off only to land on the upper branches of a nearby tree where it is still sitting for at least an hour.
This morning something else caught my eye, probably because I saw its silhouette in the fence window. The “J” of a Monarch caterpillar ready to form its chrysalis! I already have 4 chrysalides attached to plants within my garden. After discovering this J-cat, I scanned the length of the fence and my excitement grew as I discovered another dangling chrysalis on the fence above a window cutout.
Could there be more?! There was! Another chrysalis on the lower bar of the fence.
By now I was doing a full fence check. I spied a third green sparkly pouch on the back fence wall at least 12 feet away from the nearest milkweed plant.
By my count I had 20 caterpillars and a known quantity of 7 + J chrysalides. This brings me to a potential of 40% successful hatchings…or 45% if you consider the new butterfly that emerged from a chrysalis that was never seen by my eyes.