All of a sudden, something caught my eye and there was no need to me to look for Monarch eggs. There was a full-grown Monarch caterpillar that was large enough to tell me that a chrysalis is in the offing. A quick scan of the rest of the plant showed another smaller one.
In the past few weeks, I've been whining about the lack of Monarchs in the garden. The first one of the season that I spotted was way back in late May and its early arrival made me think there would more of them than usual this summer, but we've only seen two more since then. We have prepared a banquet of Asclepias plants of various sorts for their babies to munch on and heaven knows there's no shortage of nectar, so where are the butterflies?
Every day I do at least one walk-through of the garden, where I simply observe and enjoy whatever happens to be blooming and growing there. No weeding, no deadheading, just a nice relaxing stroll. Usually, my camera is hanging around my neck, because every time it isn't, you can be sure I've missed a photo op and I'm sent running back to the house to retrieve it.
Today I walked around behind the fence that runs on two sides of Max's Garden so I could get a better look at the blooming sunflowers. They are being shy this year by showing only their backsides to anyone who walks through the garden. I've planted sunflowers in the past and we always had blooms facing east, south, and west. This year, they all face east. All. Day. Long.
After I had a good look at the 'Apricot Twist' seeds that grew up to be something else (mislabeled seed packet??), I wanted to take a close look at the Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) that grows lush and full back in that same corner. Observation has taught me that the Monarchs love this plant the best of all and it usually plays host to several Monarch caterpillars at a time throughout the summer. My goal was to see if I could find any eggs on its leaves, which would be evidence that at least one Monarch had been here.
The first thing I saw was a gigantic wasp. I think it may have been longer than the Cicada Killers!
I still looked for eggs because I'd never seen one before (I'd never looked). It didn't take me long to find a few of them, each singly laid. Two on leaves and one on a stem.
So all is well in our Monarch Waystation. They've been here, they are here, and they will be here.