While surveying my butterfly garden last weekend to assess where I will place the new plants I hope to buy at the upcoming USF Spring Plant Sale (April 2-3, mark your calendars!), I noticed my remaining milkweed -- which had been rapidly growing after winter -- was looking decidely shorter. Peering at the plants, I was surprised to see a plump monarch caterpillar munching away on the leaves. Then, three more on another milkweed!
I assume that these are the progeny of a monarch that overwintered in Mexico, though it seems a bit early for the migrants to have reached Florida. Have any of you had monarchs in your garden yet?
Checking today, all the caterpillars have crawled off to make their jeweled green chrysalis cases (I haven't found them yet, but I'll keep looking), and all my milkweed has been completely stripped. Sigh. As a flower-lover, I hate seeing the naked stubs, but I love being able to provide for the butterflies even more. Looks like I'll be shopping for milkweed plants too, since I'll be getting more monarchs before these plants recover.
Hopefully, I'll have some plants flower long enough to bear seeds so I can harvest those for a sustainable supply.
I noticed that my passionvine is just now starting to recover from the winter. Fritillary food in the making!