This post by Jennifer Flaten
Our local botanical garden is hosting a butterfly exhibition for a few weeks this summer. Last week we went over there to check out the garden and the butterflies. The conservatory was filled with an assortment of lovely butterflies, but everyone’s favorite was the Monarch.
I really don’t consider it summer until I’ve spotted a few Monarch butterflies. This year, I haven’t seen any Monarchs, but we did get a lovely swallowtail in our yard. My daughter captured this great picture.
When the kids were little we sent away for the caterpillars, so we could raise our own butterflies. It was fun, but it was a slow project (obviously). The kids did enjoy seeing the caterpillars but their interest waned as we waited for the caterpillars to fatten up and turn into cocoons/chrysalis.
For a few weeks, I added chief caterpillar wrangler to my list of duties. My hard work was rewarded as our caterpillars spun their cocoons.
The kids were interested in the cocoons/chrysalis but soon lost interest again, until the butterflies started to emerge. Things turned exciting when the butterflies started to hatch. I believe we had 10 lovely Painted Ladies. We had a good time releasing them into the wild. For the next couple of years any time one of the kids would see a Painted Lady in our yard they would tell me it was one of our butterflies coming back for a visit.
This year I added several butterfly weed (aka milkweed) plants in my yard, in order to attract butterflies to my yard. I also have butterfly weed, bee balm and many other butterfly friendly plants.