Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A welcome garden visitor

A most welcome spring visitor came fluttering into my garden today. It was a migrating female Monarch butterfly and she was on a mission.

She went straight to my butterfly weed and proceeded to deposit her eggs on the leaves. Here you can see her curved thorax as she bends it to touch her ovipositer to the leaf, attaching an egg there.

I think she visited every single butterfly weed plant I have in the garden and, as best I could discern, she was leaving eggs on all of them.

She often hung upside down to deposit her eggs on the underside of a leaf.

This lady appeared to be in good shape. Her wings were completely intact, not tattered and torn as is often the case with these migrants.

My visitor continued her tour through my butterfly weed for perhaps the better part of an hour. She was not to be distracted by any of the nearby flowers. She was only interested in green leaves. With any luck at all, perhaps those green leaves will soon have some tiny caterpillars crawling on them. I just hope they fare better than last year's crop of Monarch caterpillars.

Last year, I had a plague of wasps that hunted the caterpillars in my garden all spring and summer. I don't think a single Monarch caterpillar survived to become a butterfly. I haven't seen any wasps around so far this spring so I'm hoping this generation might have a window of opportunity to develop and mature before the predators find them. I've seen very few of the migrating butterflies in my garden this spring. I would love to see the population increase here with the help of my plants.


  1. Help! Help! I came home from work to find at least a dozen Monarch caterpillars on my very tiny, recovering from winter butterfly weed! They have almost stripped it! Have you seen any for sale yet?

    1. The only nursery I've been to recently is Arbor Gate last week and they were sold out at that time, Kim. I would suggest calling around to local nurseries. Some of the franchise places sometimes have it, too. I know I've seen it at Houston Garden Center in the past. Do any of you readers know of a nursery that has some on hand? If so, please leave a comment and let us know.

    2. I found some at Houston Plants on 45. 1 gal pots for 5.99. Planted them as soon as I got home, but it may be too late :(

    3. Thanks for the heads up, Kim. Hopefully, others who may need the plants will now know where to find them.

  2. Well, hello Birdwoman! I found you at thymesquaregarden.com, and I really like your wonderful blog. I too, like to read mysteries, like to watch birds, I have several hummers in the summer, and several red-headed woodpeckers in the dead pines around my house. My pet peave is the mountain-top removal going on in W. Virginia, destroying our country's beautiul mountains. I don't understand how we can destroy this beautiful land. I enjoyed my visit with you, and will return!
    Thanks, from Dorothy and Wilma

    1. Hey, Dorothy, I'm delighted you found me! It sounds like we have a lot in common besides our names. I'm in full agreement with you about mountain-top removal. It is a crime against Nature.