Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Late Summer's little miracles



Did you know that right about now the last crop of butterflies are hatching out?  My job as a horticulturist means I get the opportunity to experience things not everyone does.  It's a great profession.  One summer at my parents farm, a flock of monarchs came and covered the trunk of one of the trees.  I had dreams about it later in life thinking it wasn't real but then found out from my dad that it actually DID happen.

Being a nature lover, I'm always on the lookout for nature.  On occasion, I get lucky and manage to hatch out a Monarch.  That's right, no joke!

The caterpillars can only be found on milkweed plants.  That's any plant with the name Asclepias

They come in orange, pink and white but here are two of my faves.  Oftentimes, I think people shy away from planting native plants because they get so enormous.  It's all about knowing the plants and these two are demure, small and non-invasive milkweeds that monarchs definitely dig!

Asclepias tuberosa - Butterflyweed
postcards/Big-Butterfly-Weed.jpg
http://www.everwilde.com/store/Wildflower-Postcard-Butterfly-Weed.html

Asclepias verticillata - Whorled milkweed
If you see a caterpillar simply pluck him off and grab a bunch of leaves from the plant it was on, they are voracious so you'll likely have to get more!  You can buy a little house for it or keep it in a container with plenty of holes in the top.

When he's ready he'll turn in to a chrysalis like this!                       And finally after about 10 days
If you want lots of info go to www.monarchwatch.org.  Seeing the entire process is such a little miracle and I KNOW someone has made jewelry out of the shape and color of those chrysalids....they are flecked with gold and gorgeous!

Happy butterfly hunting!


2 comments:

  1. How cool! I love the orange milkweed, very pretty!

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  2. I went camping once to a high mtn. lake and there were clouds of the most gorgeous butterflies I'd ever seen. It was like something out of a movie.

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