Photo by Mary Bishop
A few years ago my youngest came home from school distraught, because he’d learned that the numbers of Monarch butterflies are dwindling. He’s a sensitive soul who dearly loves all of nature, and he just couldn’t abide by the loss of something so beautiful.
I promised him we’d plant some milkweed (the Monarch caterpillar’s source of food), but it took us a while to find some. Last fall I planted a few small bushes that promptly wilted and stood sticklike through the winter and most of the spring.
One day around May, we looked out and saw that they had not only sprung back to life, they’d grown and spread a bit. Throughout the summer we saw various species of butterflies taking a sip from the flowers and in early September we even saw a few monarch caterpillars munching on the leaves. I never saw any chrysalises, though, so I assumed we had ourselves a Monarch roadside stand rather than a home (which was just fine—we all need rest stops along the way!). Then last week I caught sight of this beauty in the tree near the bushes. She’s a late bloomer for sure, but such a welcome sight.