All fifteen monarch butterflies have now been released, and hopefully flying south.
Number fifteen, another female, emerged Sunday afternoon, but there weren't enough daylight hours remaining for her to fly, so she was released Monday mid-day. Tony said she was the liveliest of the entire group, because once he set the mesh hamper on the patio in the sunshine for her to acclimate before release, she started to fly around in the hamper. The hamper is quite large, so she wasn't in any danger of damaging her wings.
When he opened the lid, she immediately flew out, high in the air and then into a neighbor's garden.
Now that all the butterflies are gone, we are preparing for next year's caterpillars.
I am soaking all the hampers and bridal veil mesh in a weak bleach solution for twenty minutes, then rinsing them in cold water and drying them on the patio in the fresh air.
This way they will be disinfected from any bacteria and ready for a new group of tenants.
We just inherited a large milkweed plant.
As you can in the image above, it is like a tree, about five feet tall in the pinkish container.
It is an Asclepias physocarpa "Family Jewels" or Balloon plant.
One of our friends had planted it some years ago in her community garden plot, but now it was taking over the plot, having grown six feet tall and very wide.
Now that it has been trimmed and planted in the container, hopefully it will be happy and thrive.
Of course, we still have the other milkweed plants that have now been trimmed down - the Narrow Leaved Asclepias fascicularis and Common milkweed or Virginia Silk Asclepias Syriaca .