The Monarch Garden

Kiran (Kler) Saluja

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” Margaret Mead

Given the depressing nightmare that we are living through in today’s world, I decided to bring some joy into our lives by growing a Monarch garden. Last year I started with three puny Milkweeds and waited impatiently for Monarch butterflies to make an appearance. Milkweed, being a weed, spread quickly. In August I noticed the first Monarch making out shamelessly with the Milkweed. And then one morning in March I spotted my first Monarch caterpillar! Here are some cellphone shots from my diary.

And then another…..I was overjoyed! With Eric Carl’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” (much read recently) in mind I watched their progress daily. I spotted many more caterpillars on the other Milkweeds. The original two caterpillars seemed to have gotten “lost” after the 9th day and I was certain they’d become lunch for the many birds in the yard (I think it was the rather bold Blue Jays). I kept up the relentless pursuit of trying to document their life cycle and one day I came upon an empty chrysalis …. there must be a butterfly somewhere!!

Some days later I watched in wonder as one of the caterpillars spun a chrysalis on a tomato cage and overnight was enveloped in a green chamber. And then I actually saw an emerging butterfly!! And there are so many more caterpillars…. now on any given day we’re spotting 2-3 Monarchs as well as several smaller white butterflies and an occasional bright yellow butterfly. So though things are going from bad to worse there is a little bit of escape and complete joy in my butterfly garden!

Emerging from the chrysalis
The Monarch


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