Just a couple of days ago, I blogged that we were still getting Monarch butterflies in the garden, and that we had a lot of caterpillars on the yellow Milkweed in the back garden (but none on the red and yellow variety).
I was worried that they would run out of leaves before they were ready to turn into chrysalises so I was out in the rain, snipping stalks with caterpillars on and relocating them to nearby plants!
Here's the yellow milkweed now: as you can see, there's not a leaf on it, nor any caterpillars.
Happily, the ones I relocated to the other milkweed plants are still doing well.
But what of the rest?
So far, I've counted four chrysalises -- including these two on the underside of the birdbath:
There are also a couple more on the fence:
I also saw a caterpillar crawling up the side of one of the planters, so I'm sure there will be a chrysalis there in the morning.
Looking back at my blog throughout the year, it's really been a banner year for Monarchs. We first had caterpillars in the front garden back in April.
In June, we had so many chrysalises, I lost count of them all!
At the end of June, we were lucky enough to witness some newly hatched Monarch butterflies.
In July, we had another generation of caterpillars, this time in the back garden.
By August, the second generation had eaten us out of house and home and had turned into chrysalises in some unusual spots and once again we got to witness new butterflies.
And now here we are in October, when I really thought we'd seen the last of them, we get to witness the miracle again.
Something else I thought we had seen the last of for this year are hummingbirds. I hadn't filled the feeders in a couple of weeks (but had neglected to take them down and clean them).
Imagine my shock when I saw a female ruby throat attempting to get a drink from one of them the other day!
Luckily, we still have some blooms on the Rose of Sharon, the Vitex and the Flame Acanthus, so she wasn't going to starve. But I turned the kettle on then and there and made up some fresh nectar and later pulled the feeders down and cleaned them and refilled them.
I was able to get this photo of her. My apologies for the poor quality but I was losing the light, plus I was taking the photo through a dirty window!
It's moments like these that make gardening in the brutal Texas summer a little easier to bear. This is why I garden and I still find it amazing that in four years we've accomplished so much.
Happy gardening all.
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.