Come on Monarchs!

Remember how I was recently hopeful that my large and ever-expanding colony of common milkweed would finally rear its first "crop" of monarch caterpillars?


Well, things are looking good! Or at least they were for a while.


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Clearly there are some caterpillars around:


But checking yesterday, when the plants are now about 4' (1.2m) tall and producing flower buds...


...although I could see some caterpillar damage, there was not a caterpillar to be found.

There is certainly stuff going on (as this terribly out of focus shot shows)...


...and the blossoms on this plant smell so wonderful I can't cut them down now, but these are really here for the monarchs and there are no monarchs!

Maybe bamboo repels monarchs as much as milkweed attracts them? They're canceling out...


Note that this HOT and RAINY spring has not been good for gardening so far, but a few perfect days means that I've jumped onto a bunch of projects out there. My schedule only permits shorter posts, but at least I should be getting more out there instead of just once a week or so. Thanks for your patience and for sticking with me!

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Studio Maywyn  – (May 22, 2017 at 1:04 PM)  

I think the lack of Monarch butterflies is sadly wide spread.

Anonymous –   – (May 22, 2017 at 10:33 PM)  

Caterpillars have a lot of enemies - spiders, ants, birds, evil wasps that lay eggs on them. Maybe aphids too.
http://monarchbutterflygarden.net/stop-monarch-predators/
I raise swallowtails inside.

outlawgardener  – (May 23, 2017 at 9:17 AM)  

Maybe the monarchs will spread the word to their friends about your milkweed and more will come next year:) Sorry that the caterpillars have disappeared.

Alan  – (May 23, 2017 at 1:12 PM)  

Anon: good point! I always think "birds" and wonder why these caterpillars would get eaten if poisonous, but maybe it's something else that's eating them.

Peter: If I don't see caterpillars by the time the blooms are gone I'm going to yank most of it out. There's *really* a lot of it this year -- too much.

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