I literally spent three weeks in bed but have started to get up and about recently. I was getting headaches at first but they seem to have resolved now, thank goodness! I'm just asking it easy and not overdoing things.
So while I was in hospital, the garden was more or less left to its own resources. The weeds, of course, grew rampant. The milkweed got covered in aphids and other crud.
During my recovery I've been spending time sitting out on the patio and one day I saw this young lady busy at work, laying eggs on the cruddy milkweed.
I think they are really designed so you can raise Monarch indoors, but we don't really have anywhere that the cats wouldn't get to it, so I opted to put mine in the back corner of the patio.
I put a couple of bricks on the bottom, to stop it getting blown around by the wind. Then I went around collecting some milkweed cuttings that had caterpillars on, and placing them in the little picks filled with water to keep them fresh-(ish). I also took some other cuttings and cleaned them up, hosed off the aphids etc., and put them in there as well.
Within a day, one of the caterpillars had already departed it's milkweed and was climbing to the top of the cage! Then I saw two more heading that way as well!
This morning I was thrilled to see three chrysalises (chrysalides)!!
Today I plan to see if I can purchase some fresh milkweed from one of our local stores, Plants for All Seasons or The Arbor Gate, if they have any. That way I can rescue some other caterpillars, and even some eggs, from the ratty milkweed in the island beds.
Wish me luck!
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.