Woo hoo. The back garden redesign is starting to pay off! I had butterflies, bees & birds in mind when I started the makeover this spring and today a big sign it's working:
A Monarch caterpillar on "Princess" ~ the pink swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) planted in the new oval bed. It's the first time I've EVER had Monarch caterpillars. I've read about them being in your gardens and now, what a thrill to find them in my own!
It really IS true "if you plant it, they will come." The caterpillar above is on "Ice Ballet" ~ a white swamp milkweed. I only see two "cats" for now (one on each plant) but we'll see what happens. The blooms of both milkweed are long over but there are plenty of seed pods & green leaves left. I'm hoping both plants will spread around the garden and I have multitudes of caterpillars from this year forward.
Now I guess I'll start worrying about them being parasitized by the tachinid flies that also inhabit the garden. It's already crossed my mind to collect them and keep them protected but I wonder if that's the right thing??? How much interference is appropriate? I struggle with that one...