This past spring, Monarch Butterflies returned to our two garden to lay their eggs. On days when children were in our Learning Garden, we watched as they grew fat on the milkweed in our garden beds. After a few weeks, we gathered a few of them and gently placed them in our butterfly enclosure.
We continued to feed them copious amounts of Milkweed, along with spritzing them and their enclosure with water, often.
If it is cold out – as was the case with our ‘May gray’ weather here in San Diego, near the beach – then the process from egg to larvae to chrysalis may take a few weeks longer than the 3-4 weeks that it usually takes.
Eventually, the caterpillars crawled up onto the top netting of the enclosure and began to hang themselves upside down.
Unfortunately, a few of the caterpillars did not have the energy to weave their cocoon around them and died in the process of becoming butterflies. Nature reminds us of how natural loss is, and how death and rebirth are two sides of the same coin.
This chrysalis has turned sheen and is now displaying the black color of the wings of the butterfly. When this happens, the butterfly will eclose within 24-48 hours.
An eclosed Monarch Butterfly. At this stage, the butterfly still needs about two hours of hanging in order for it to dry its wings.
We may have accidentally interrupted the process of our butterfly’s eclosing by removing it from its enclosure to soon. Silly humans!
Helping the butterfly make its way to the garden.
Our first eclosed butterfly remained on the squash leaf for a few hours before it flew away.
Our squash plants have overtaken our garden! Can you find the butterfly now?