Inviting butterflies


butterfly bush buddleja alternifolia flower cluster

We provide food for butterflies too. The butterfly bush growing in a container pot in the backyard has grown a lot in height and width, producing these gorgeous flower clusters. So far we've observed cabbage moths, umber skippers, a gulf fritillary and a buckeye feeding on these flowers. The flower clusters are gorgeous, but seeing butterflies on them is even better.

Narrow leaf milkweed with seed pod

This seed pod is a complete surprise to me.

About 10 years ago I started planting milkweed from seed in containers in the backyard, trying to create a way station for monarch butterflies. Aside from showy milkweed and tropical milkweed we also grew several narrow leaf milkweed plants and they produced seed pods.

Apparently these plants produced enough leaves/food to feed monarch butterfly larva. One day I discovered 4 tiny monarch caterpillars on the leaves. We successfully raised two of them to adulthood in a butterfly "castle" made with bridal netting and embroidery hoops.

But alas, though we do see a few monarch butterflies flying around the garden, our milkweed plants haven't flourished as they did in the past. And the monarchs aren't laying their eggs on them.

This is the first seed pod I've seen on a narrow leaf milkweed in our backyard after all these years, so it does give me hope.

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bees in the bay breeze
 

For years I have been sharing ideas, gardening tips and recipes  with family, friends and colleagues.

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