Monarchs arrived in the area about the 12th of May. Almost the same week as last year. My friend Bob has already collected almost 100 eggs. Since I work full time I am a little limited in my time. I will start collecting this coming week.
I have been preparing the garden all month. I have 18 swamp milkweed plants in the garden now. I planted 6 this spring. I have been purging the garden of over abundant plants and replacing with more butterfly-friendly plants, i.e. milkweed, coneflower, liatris, salvia... The images above are a group of planters all filled with milkweed, just for the caterpillars. I paired them up with tidal wave petunias to feed the hummingbirds. Two planters are filled with dill and parsley. I also planted bronze fennel to the garden. These three plants all attract eastern swallowtail b-fly attractors.
I have 7 swamp milkweed in pots for the cat. house for the caterpillars to munch on. I will put them in and they will get eaten and then I will pull it out and put a new one in. The mw plants will re-leaf and then I can put them back in. So the mw will be rotating. Now I just need to clean the cat. house and the 2 aquariums that were passed on to me by a couple of friends. If you choose to use an aquarium instead of a cat. house or plastic storage container, you will want to put in a piece of 2" foam to cover the bottom. When the cats. make their chrysalis' they will , on occasion fall down. This protects them from being damaged.
The next time I check in, I hope to have caterpillars!
Let me know what you are doing and if you need help or advice. I am coaching anyone who wants to raise cats this summer! Later!