Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Monarchs are Here!

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!


  1. Where are you located ? We have not seen one Monarch in Pawleys Island, SC ......Helen Faulstich

  2. Helen, I am outside Chicago. They are in the area, I just haven't seen any yet. If you are on facebook, become a fan of Monarch Watch. You can dialog with other fans from SC. I'd love to hear more about your garden. What are you growing in SC for butterflies? Dolly

  3. Dolly, Love your site, appreciate all the info on raising monarchs. Can you recommend a website that would have plans for making a butterfly cage similar to yours? Also, I have a garden full of self-seeded asclepias tuberosa and 4 swamp milkweed plants; are they interchangeable to the monarchs? I'm in Oak Park and just noticed the Monarchs this week! thanks, Muriel

  4. Thanks for the post Muriel! This summer almost all my eggs at home and work have been on tropical and swamp milkweed. I have found a few eggs on common. When I bring them in I feed the cats swamp and tropical interchangeably, it doesn't seem to hurt them. I couldn't find any plans for cat houses. My husband built ours on the fly. It was pretty easy, just a 2'x2'x2' frame with screening stapled to it. Keep me updated, I'd love to hear more about your garden! Dolly