Ok, now for a bit of super coolness. Our milkweed continues to support hundreds of critters, even as we near the end of the growing season. Here you can see Milkweed Bugs (adults & nymphs) and a monarch caterpillar in the background.
We still have at least 10 monarch caterpillars that we see feeding. We're hoping the season is long enough to allow them to go through the chrysalis stage and then fly south to Mexico. They go through five growth stages (instars) as a caterpillar lasting 10-14 days, then they need another 10-14 days in the chrysalis form to metamorphos into an adult monarch. Most of the ones we see are in the 4th and 5th instars. Fingers crossed!
And finally, we found three more chrysalises! (The monarch on our porch metamorphosed perfectly and is no doubt, well on its way south.) First, I found an opened chrysalis that a monarch already emerged from on a gray-headed coneflower I cut back since it flopped in the path. GULP! That sure made me watch my pruning much, much more closely. Now, look in the center of both photos and you will see the most beautiful green chrysalises ever. Steve found this chrysalis hanging from Riddell's Goldenrod first:
Then I found this chrysalis hanging from Canada Goldenrod while looking out our library doors. That shape is unmistakeable and made my heart nearly burst with excitement!
There must be dozens more we haven't found and that is so encouraging since the monarch really, really needs all our help. We have lots and lots of common milkweed seed if you want to grow a patch yourself. Getting the seed in the ground before winter is ideal and makes the process so easy peasy. We are happy to give it away free or send it for just the cost of postage. Let us know and until then, happy fall adventuring!