May 3, 2020

Monarch Season…Better Late Than Never…..

Typically in our region we get two distinct monarch butterfly mating seasons, spring and fall. The spring season is generally over by Easter break, oh now we have to call it spring break. Whatever? Last spring break my wife was worried that the monarch chrysalises they were caged in here 2nd grade class, would all hatch while school was not in session and the children would come back first day after the break , all excited to see they new butterflies and see well, not a good sight. 

What she decided to do was to take the mesh cage with the chrysalises home and film their great escape and watch them fly off into the garden. Actually worked pretty well.

This year things are way nuttier and the monarchs are also arriving about a month late, a bit odd even for nature. Still, they’re here and the cameras will be rolling to try to capture as much as well can of this miracle of nature and Zoom blast it to the kids. While we may not win an Academy Award or even a Youtube Award but the show will go on and there will be learning going on via Zoom and the WWW.

Where are we so far?

This morning I spotted evidence that the monarchs had arrived and the caterpillars were on the lose. Here’s one of our showy milkweed plants….the caterpillars are or had been here. Don’t need Dick Tracy for this one.

Note the holes in the leaves….they’ve been here, no doubt.

Now it looks like some of the showy milkweed plants are about to go into flower. This is a bit odd to see since the monarch caterpillars love to eat the buds. Seldom do you see flowers on these south of Monterey County. Can’t go into the reason for this now but it means there are no caterpillars or they haven’t found the flowers yet.

We’re seeing leaves eaten and holes but also flower buds?

A little more looking …..FOUND THEM!

And mroe…crawling around and eating out showy milkweed. Based on their size they’ve been eating for about 2 or 3 days. In a little over a week they will be moving the the chrysalis stage. There they will stay for just under 2 weeks they off they will go.

The moral of this story buy milkweed weed for your garden and if you plant it they will come. Really!


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Featured Plant



Botanical Name

Iris germanica TB 'Immortality' Re

Common Name



Flower Color


Mature Size

2-1/2 tall × 2 wide

Climactic Requirements


Full Sun / Filtered Sun


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