Monarch!

In my last post, I wrote about  the steep decline in the population of monarch butterflies.  I mentioned that I hadn’t seen any monarchs in my gardens here in Austin so far this September. Yesterday afternoon as I was in the garden planting more fennel and milkweed ahead of our first, bona fide autumn cool front with impending rain–there she was!

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Flying fast and high, this lone Monarch flitted onto the Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, which is ready and waiting, just for her–and any other interested Lepidoptera.

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Only one Monarch, but she made my heart sing!

I took photos.  Partly because I don’t know if there will soon be a time that there won’t be any monarchs to take photos of and also because I regretted not taking photos last spring when one Monarch visit for a day or two.  I remember thinking at that time: There will be more–it’s that time of year.

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With serious threats to the survival of this indigenous North American butterfly species, there is no guarantee that monarchs will visit my gardens in the future.  I sincerely hope that my generation’s children and grandchildren will see monarchs in their gardens.

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Wishing you safe travels to Mexico and a good winter there, beautiful one.  And for many, many generations to follow you.

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14 thoughts on “Monarch!

  1. Ahhh. So lovely. My last trip to the nursery yielded 5 tropical milkweed plants. None are in bloom yet, but I’m hopeful they will be soon, and if there are any stray monarchs headed my way they’ll find sustenance here. And if not? I’m happy one found its way to your sweet spaces, and that you were able to capture it for the rest of us. May your wishes (and mine) for these beautiful creatures all come true.

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    • Well, I am to please. 🙂 I was thrilled to see her…him. Those milkweed will bloom and even if there are no monarchs to sip (sniff), there will be other pollinators. And if the milkweed survive winter (they probably will) they’ll be in place for whatever monarchs make their way through next spring. Amen on the wishes for good things.

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  2. How awesome! I’m so glad you had such a good sighting. I remember one particular year when monarch caterpillars seemed to be everywhere for a few days. Of course, I was very young and I may be remembering incorrectly, but it’s a happy memory, so I’ll stick to it. Thanks for the lovely photos. They made me smile. 🙂

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    • Hi Deborah! I’m sure your memory is correct–I also remember many, many butterflies. Sadly, there just isn’t the diversity that there once was. All we can do is educate and plant appropriately. And keep our fingers crossed.

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      • I did a little research after I sent you that message, and Michigan was on the path for those lovely creatures. So, it probably wasn’t some convoluted concoction, but snippets of a real memory.

        I keep hoping we will get smarter as inhabitants of this planet and do more to protect the others we share it with.

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      • Michigan is definitely part of the migration path of the monarchs-your memories are correct. I dispare about our stewardship of our world at times. All we can do is our part to heal the world.

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    • Milkweed is its host plant where the females lay their eggs and the caterpillars feed. Adult monarchs feed from a variety of nectar sources though. We had rain all day yesterday (yay!). I’ll be interested to see if there are any other monarchs around in the next few days.

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  3. Lovely! Our tropical milkweed came back slowly this year, and I’ve seen just one Monarch on it, too. Maybe if I plant a few more, I can coax a few more butterflies into the garden.

    It’s so sad that the Monarchs are disappearing. I’d love to see a comeback, but won’t hold my breath.

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    • I think not holding your breath is probably a good plan, Mary. 🙂 My milkweed was zapped in that last, hard freeze. I’ll watch what I’ve planted a bit more carefully this coming winter. The tropical milkweed wasn’t as available commercially when we used to have winters like this past one. It is “tropical” milkweed, after all.

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