Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm A Mom Again (Sort Of)!

This morning I had a treat waiting for me when I visited my butterfly garden: the (alleged) Monarch butterfly eggs have hatched! It took three days from the time I first noticed the eggs. They're tiny yet, not even 1 x 3 millimeter in size, and they barely look like anything yet. (They bear a creepy resemblance to tiny maggots right now ... eww.) I will be keeping a close eye on them over the next two weeks while they grow. At two weeks, they should be fat, 2-inch caterpillars with black, white, and yellow stripes, assuming they are in fact Monarchs. Here's the picture I snapped today:

The thing that makes me wonder if they are Monarchs is that the eggs were laid in a cluster, rather than dotted all around the underside of the leaf as I have read Monarchs do. It could be that my Monarch mom was an anomaly. It could even be that these are a whole different species of butterfly ... though from everything I've read, if you find butterfly eggs on a milkweed, they're bound to be Monarch eggs. Time will tell! If you want to learn more about the Monarch butterfly life cycle, which takes about a month to complete from egg to adult, visit Rose Franklin's Monarch Metamorphosis page!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Success (I think)!

Took a tour of my butterfly garden yesterday, whilst lamenting that I hadn't seen more than two species of butterfly anywhere in the vicinity. (The insects are enjoying it quite a bit, though.) I examined my Asclepias incarnata 'Ice Ballet' (known by the less pretty name Swamp Milkweed), to find a cluster of some 50 eggs which I hope will turn out to be Monarch butterfly eggs!

Only after I mentioned this to my husband did he remember to tell me he'd seen a Monarch flit through our backyard the previous day. *rolls eyes*

I will keep you all posted, as I plan to make daily trips out to the butterfly garden to see how and when the eggs hatch. If my milkweed starts looking like Swiss cheese, and I see little black, yellow and white striped caterpillars, I'll know I've hit the jackpot.

I also saw a pair of damselflies hovering around my Morning Glories. Not sure what species it was, but this is what he looked like. These guys are voracious eaters of pesky insects like beetles, flies and mosquitoes, so I was happy to welcome him:

My 'Pink Delight' butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) was also blooming nicely. Looked like the bugs had been visiting it, since it was a bit chewed here and there. With a butterfly garden, you want things to be a bit ragged. That means you have customers!

The garden is in full bloom now, and it's such a pleasure to see everything so green and lush. I can't wait to see if I get lots of flying flowers, now that I know the butterflies have discovered my garden. Keep watching here for updates!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Guest Blogging Today at Coffee & Romance

I'm guest blogging today at Coffee & Romance! Go to the Featured Author page at Coffee & Romance to learn a little about me and my upcoming book, WATER. While you're there, feel free to post a comment. I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

Wishing all Americans a safe and happy Fourth of July. Be safe, and have a great day!