A Rescue Mission

We have an ornamental milkweed plant growing in our garden. Milkweed is the host plant for monarch butterflies. You can learn all about monarchs here. The caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed. I like butterflies, so I don’t mind if they eat my plant. We even mow around the wild milkweeds to provide food for them.

Last week I counted at least 15 caterpillars on the one plant. The caterpillars have been growing fat and happy, the plant isn’t faring as well. When I checked it tonight, there were only a few scrawny leaves left. I was afraid the 8 caterpillars that I found on there would starve. So I rescued them. Here is their life raft:

caterpillars

caterpillars

I moved them to some of the wild milkweeds out in our prairie garden. Don’t they look happier in their new home?

New Home

New Home

Oh, look what I found on the plant they were on originally:

 

Chrysalis

Chrysalis

 That is a chrysalis. The caterpillar forms this around itself, then in about 10 – 14 days the butterfly will emerge – magic! It’s hard to see in the photo, but there is a line and some spots on the chrysalis which are gold. Actual shiny, 14 carat looking gold. Nature really is quite amazing.

 

 We started the prairie garden about 4 years ago. I don’t like lawns much. You water them and fertilize them so they will grow, then you have to mow them. Does that make sense??? I don’t mind a bit of lawn around the house, but I don’t like 3 acres of it. So we are trying to turn part of the yard back into native prairie. Right now some of the coneflowers are blooming:

coneflowers

coneflowers

Aren’t they prettier than grass?

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