I have been thinking I might have been seeing a monarch flying around our milkweed plants n the patio but when I saw it I was either mowing the lawn or just didn’t have my monocular or phone to zoom in and see it. The lighting is pretty tricky for me out back with the trees and dark shadows contrasting with the bright sunshine so I find it hard to see them for now.
A couple of summers ago I collected a whole bag of seeds from our white swamp milkweed. Late winter I stuck them in the fridge for a month and then planted them in pots. It took them forever to sprout. I think it was a couple of months. I just stuck them outside to see if anything happened after nothing happened I had all but given up on it figuring I messed up or something until one day I noticed green sprouting.
I was out from this morning watering the hibiscus and hanging plant when I noticed the milkweed. Once again I looked closely at it and really didn’t see any signs of caterpillars as it’s been this summer. I saw Monarchs visit the flowers and even lay eggs but nothing really seems to have come of it this year. There have been a couple of caterpillars that Molly noticed but I haven’t taken notice of any.
We spotted a monarch butterfly today hanging out the rose bush that’s next to the milkweed. It didn’t seem to be bothering with the milkweed which seemed odd. I would keep flying up and circling then landing back on the rose. I went out to get a closer look at it and see if I couldn’t get it’s picture. It took a few tries since it seemingly didn’t want to sit still.
A couple of times in the past week or two I thought I had spotted a monarch flying around. Usually just out of the corner of my eye just flying past. Once that I can think of is when I was watering our hibiscus I thought I seen one fly out of the milkweed next to it. The other time was while mowing the lawn the other day I thought I saw one fly across next to me.
I was picking up some fallen branches from the lawn to mow the lawn and out of the corner of my eye something reddish or orange shot through the edge of my peripheral vision. Again I saw it go back the opposite direction again out of the corner of my eye. It was in the vicinity of our potted milkweed plants on the patio It seems way to early since we haven’t seen them until August here during previous years.
Our pink swamp milkweed that we finally picked up last summer seems to be coming up again. We thought the original white one we got was the pink one but it was apparently mislabeled. It sucked that it wasn’t the one we got but the butterflies loved in none the less. We weren’t sure it was even going to come back up considering we didn’t buy it and plant it until August and the monarchs found it immediately.
Freshly emerged monarch butterfly drying itself on the hibiscus flower.Here is a picture of a monarch Butterfly on a large hibiscus flower. After we got home from geocaching today Molly looked out the window and saw a monarch sitting a hibiscus flower. She ended up roosting underneath of it over night and flew away this morning. We knew some caterpillars had wandered off because we saw them then the next day they were all gone.
Two monarch butterflies nectoring on our new pink swamp milkweed flowersThis is a picture that shows two monarchs butterflies nectoring on our new pink swamp milkweed. Our milkweed was eaten bare save a few new leaves the caterpillars hadn’t found yet. We happened to be at a hardware store picking up sand for our sandbag and saw there was still some stuff in the garden center so I suggested we go look for milkweed just in case they have any left.
It was a decent day and we wanted some fresh air today so we opted to go out on the riverfront trail and grab a few caches. It was a pretty nice day though. Pretty much the whole time out there we kept seeing these butterflies flying all around. Butterfly on plant along the Northwest River TrailHere’s a picture of a reddish brown butterfly that we saw many of on the Northwest River Trail today.
Two summers ago Molly had read about butterfly weed to attract butterflies. We Just couldn’t find it anywhere but managed to find swamp milkweed That was supposed to be pink but ended up being white but it didn’t matter in the end. Until I we picked up the milkweed I had forgotten that it was something I had always wanted to plant after reading about monarch butterflies in elementary school.
Although our swamp milkweed did not do well this year and between aphids and some sort of (i believe) fungus it dies off early and didn’t support many caterpillars butterflies visited every day multiple times a day to lay eggs. In July we could see that something was eating the leaves but never spotted caterpillars until a bit later. Finally, we spotted this one that has obviously been around for a while because it’s pretty big.
We spent the spring looking for butterfly weed last year. First we checked at Hostetters in Mount Joy but they didn’t have any yet. We found ourselves at Stauffers later for other plants and decided to check there. We found swamp milkweed instead so gave it a try. I grew well and did attract monarchs. It turned out to be white instead of the pink it was marked as but it was okay.
Last fall I gathered tons of milkweed sees from the pods as they dried out thinking it was worth a shot to try to propagate more plants from seeds because we had a few people ask us about where to get the flower that attracts the butterflies. I had no idea if the seeds were mature enough to harvest or anything like that but I got a baggy of seeds to try it out.
We went to a geo event at Blue Marsh today. It was actually pretty interesting getting some information of how search and rescue works and hearing about Middle Creek Search and Rescue. You have to really appreciate the work they do. It was really interesting seeing how the k9s do their work. Of course after the very interesting presentations we wandered off to find some geocaches. It was really a nice area to explore and we’ll absolutely have to return to Blue Marsh some day.