Today's the day my persistence (and environmentally-concerned determination) paid off. Close to a year and a half after building my butterfly garden, I got what I've been waiting for.
I was outside today, thinking, "Gee, I really ought to trim back some of the leggier stuff in my garden. It's been so hot, I haven't done much, and everything's gone haywire." No sooner did I start trimming back the leggy stuff and unwanted volunteer seedings, than I hit the brakes. There, tucked in the back on a milkweed seedling, I found a Monarch Butterfly caterpillar!
Needless to say, I'm elated. This is what I built the garden for: to help along the Monarch species, which has been in a devastating decline due to habitat loss and pesticide use. And now, proof positive that my garden lives up to the purpose for which I built it!
Well, I ran right out and bought some mulch and began laying it ever-so-gently in between plants, where bare soil still existed (never did any mulching except a "green mulch" this year with a thick mat of Alyssum "Carpet-of-Snow" plants to keep the soil in place and somewhat moist). This will also help the various insects find places to hide.
Well, there I am with a bag of mulch on my shoulder, and as I approach the garden, I see a Giant Swallowtail on my butterfly bush:
Double yay! I am now considering registering my little side garden with Monarch Watch, an organization dedicated to helping this butterfly species survive. Of course, other species of butterfly and insect are always welcome. My property is wildlife-friendly, and I'm proud of that.
I don't even mind when the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds fly by and holler at me to refill their feeder ... again. :)