|A Prince--or Princess?|
One posting left open some hope—saying that perhaps the Monarchs were just late in migrating from their northern territories and would be migrating through later than usual. So I kept looking for a Monarch among the many butterflies visiting our coneflowers and zinnias and at our five plantings of milkweed—Asclepias tuberosa and Asclepias incarnata—the host plant on which Monarchs lay their eggs and on which their caterpillars feed.
For weeks I found nothing. Not good, I worried.
And then about 10 days ago I found two Monarch caterpillars chomping on milkweed leaves when I checked our two Asclepias incarnata plants, gifts of Corliss G., a Howard County Master Gardener, during an exchange of perennials. I promptly named them Princess and Prince—true offspring of Monarchs. But where were the adults—flying about in Eastern Tiger Swallowtail disguises?
|A visiting Monarch|
Two Monarch caterpillars and an adult or two! I’m relieved, but how relieved should I be when I should have expected to find 10 caterpillars and seen a score of adults?
Here’s hoping I see scores of Monarchs in Summer 2014. In the meantime, I’m thinking that perhaps I should consolidate our far-flung milkweed plantings into one or two larger beds to encourage the beautiful insects to stop here at Meadow Glenn for some fast food on their annual travels.
P.S. Today’s (Sept. 12) Local Living section of the Washington Post contains three articles by Adrian Higgins on butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Click on the blue to go to “Creating a haven for butterflies and bees” (subsections on Monarchs, Honeybees, Bumblebees, and Pesticides); “Planting and gardening for pollinators” (breaks down common pollinator-supporting plants into these lists: “Milkweeds,” “Trees and shrubs,” “Herbs,” and “Perennials” and then Spring, Summer, and Fall bloomers); and “Tips on beekeeping” ( lists local beekeeper organizations).