Oh how embarrassing it is that I have neglected my blog for so long. So sorry friends!
I have dug out my monarch journal and the official count for the 2011 season is 226! The last monarch was released on October 3rd by Lee and she hung around for about three days. So I got a few great shots of her.
Believe it or not that photo is from my cell phone. I am really surprised it came out so nice.
So to recap 2011 a little more...
The common milkweed was spreading like crazy, especially into my neighbor's yard. I will have to take care of that next year. She eventually cut down all the MW and I almost had a heart attack until a week later I followed a female monarch while she layed no less than 50 eggs on the brand new sprouts. ;)
The Tithonia Mexican sunflower was an excellent decision to plant. My plants reached 7' tall and the three plants took up about 8 sq. ft. They look very homely when you put them in the ground, then you will this thing ever grow? It sits for a little while then shoots up fast and flowers late in the season. Mine flowers in late July- Oct because I didn't plant it until late June. I also added lots of Zinnia this year and was very please with them.
I again, had a huge monarch egg collection surge in late July and then a huge die-off in early Aug. This is the second year I have had this. I now think that my cats are too crowded in the flat containers. I need to spread them out even more. It seems like whatever is killing them spreads from one cat to the next and there is no stopping it.
Adding the tropical mw was another good idea. I had about 7 large pots planted all on tropical mw. The butterflies ( all species) liked it. I collected a fair amount of eggs from these plants.
So if you are thinking of "beefing" up your butterfly garden this year, add topical mw, zinnias, and Tithonia!