Vic and I are the proud foster parents of a group of Monarch butterfly caterpillars.
A number of years ago, we planted two butterfly gardens in our yard. This year, our effort has paid off. A Monarch butterfly laid eggs in one of our gardens a couple of weeks ago. Ten caterpillars hatched from the eggs and are happily eating our milkweeds to the nub.
The purpose of a butterfly garden is two-fold.
First, the plants provide nectar for butterflies. That part is great, because who doesn't love the colorful fluttering wings of butterflies?
The second part is less wonderful from an aesthetic point of view. The garden must also provide food for caterpillars. We won't get butterflies if we don't allow the caterpillars to access our prized plants.
We planted milkweed, lantana, and a variety of sages to provide nectar for adults and food for larvae. Two years ago, I bought one bloodflower milkweed plant from the nursery at Friends of Shipley Nature Center.