12th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
A monarch enjoying tropical milkweed I planted in my garden in Chicago.
Because the monarch is a struggling species of butterfly, I purposely planted tropical milkweed in my garden to encourage her to lay her eggs there. She not only flitted daily in and out of the milkweed, but did in fact, lay her eggs there. They hatched and found their way deeper into my garden to feast upon butterfly weed, also planted with the purpose of fueling the yellow, green and black caterpillars for their high energy experience of forming a chrysalis. Completely unexpected was my experience of witnessing a total of seven caterpillars which found their way out of my garden, across my cement walkway and up the side of my brick bungalow to hang in their upside down "J" and continue to form their chrysalis' under my dining room window sill!! I watched all seven of them successfully hatch over the course of the following week, dry their wings, soak up the sunshine and eventually fly away!
It was a completely unsolicited experience ~ a certain miracle, watching the chrysalis turn from jade green to a transparent black, enabling me to see the orange wing tightly folded up inside and to emerge into the exquisite creatures they are. whatever the count is for their arrival in Mexico, I claim seven of them!
© Barbara Gyarmathy.
All rights reserved.
||Oct. 27, 2014, 7:25 p.m.
||Canon PowerShot A2500