Escondido, CA milkweed garden
by Dan and Jo Land
(Escondido, CA., USA)
our garden full of caterpillars
We started growing Milkweed in the Spring, and have been so happy with all the incredible experiences that have happened since!
Right now we have a late bunch of caterpillars, some are still munching milkweed, and we have about 20 chrysalis' that we know of altogether- outside, inside in a habitat, inside in an aquarium, and two on our Christmas tree! One is transparent and we are anxiously awaiting our fourth butterfly of this generation.
My husband started this, remembering a teacher in grade school showing them the life cycle of butterflies, and he decided to do this for our daughters, aged 6 and 7. He contacted the Monarch Society for milkweed seeds and it's been so amazing ever since! We watched Monarchs dance around our milkweed, laying their eggs, and then flutter off. Soon we had little caterpillars that just got bigger and more beautiful. They eat so much!! Amazing to watch.
Then, when we would see the caterpillars start wandering away from the milkweed we would bring in the ones that we could, put them in either habitat and they would take it from there. My 6 yr old accidentally dislodged a chrysalis and my husband hot glued it to a twig and it is in our Christmas tree (the one that is ready to open today).
We have named them and taken so many incredible photographs. My entire family (from Idaho to Pa to Guam) knows what we're doing and they all think that it is just great. Even the neighbors have a couple of chrysalises on their fence and they are excited too! So, we are definitely doing our part to help out the Monarchs, and having been a part of this last generation has just been one miracle after another.
The spring and summer butterflies were awesome to watch, but knowing what this generation has ahead of them is the most amazing thing of all. We feel so fortunate to be a part of this amazing life cycle, and we can't wait for them to return.