With more flowers blooming now at the south end of the butterfly garden, we can finally offer one-stop shopping for the monarchs! We have both milkweed for them to lay eggs on and for the caterpillars to eat, and nectar for the butterflies to drink, like this one on a zinnia:
This is great because if monarchs come to mate or lay eggs, they can refuel without having to spend energy flying somewhere else. Also, while they smell the milkweed with their feet, brightly colored flowers can help attract them visually. With a steady supply of zinnias and other flowers in that area, we can fill in gaps in the perennials’ blooming times and always have something for our pollinators to “eat.”
We continue to have new milkweed popping up, including this variety, in an area where Ms. Marilyn have no memory of planting it (and it’s not one that tends to drift around, like the really tall kind). It’s called swamp, rose, red, or incarnata, and I’m glad to have it, however it arrived:
Here’s a sight we don’t often get to see — a butterfly that has escaped predators long enough to reach old age (several weeks), which you can tell because she’s tattered and faded:
She was on a tall plant along the 55th sidewalk called Joe Pye weed, and she stayed there for the entire hour or so that I was at the garden today. If you look closely, the long, thin, black thing coming out from her face is her proboscis. She’s drinking nectar in this photo, and that’s what she was doing most of the time that I saw her.