Our Last Monarch

By which I mean, the last Monarch we raised indoors and then released out in the garden. Now that the southward migration has begun, I don’t expect to find any more Monarch eggs or caterpillars.

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The occupant of the last chrysalis emerged yesterday morning while Judy was on the phone. This morning we took her wire mesh cage out to the front garden. She climbed right onto Judy’s finger.

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Judy then tried to deposit her on the Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia).

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The Monarch made herself right at home.

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And then spread her wings to bask in the morning sun.

There seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence in Chicago and elsewhere that there have been a lot more Monarch butterflies flying around this summer. I’d like to think that all the planting of Milkweed by gardeners and conservationists is paying off. However, it’s been pointed out that what really matters is the number of Monarchs who survive the migration, then survive the winter in Mexico.

But there’s no question that the more numerous Monarchs have added an enchanting quality to every garden they have graced. Let’s keep planting Milkweeds and refraining from using insecticides, and maybe next year we’ll have even more.

33 Comments on “Our Last Monarch

  1. Lovely to see the beautiful Monarch safely landing on Judy … Now that’s a real thank you from the butterflies! I’m sure you have both made a difference to the Monarchs and as Laurie says … A very bright spot of hope.

  2. Love these pics! Isn’t raising monarchs a fascinating and delightful experience? This was my third year raising them and I released 7 males and 8 females. I’m quite satisfied 😊.

  3. Lovely post!!! We have released 6 with about 36 more to go that are still in caterpillar and chrysalis stage! This is our 1st year and it’s been so magical!

  4. I did have a lot more Monarchs this year – every time I was out in my yard I could find at least one, and usually several. Next year I plan to be ready to bring eggs in to a grand Monarch hotel. Well done, Jason and Judy!

  5. Oh wow, gorgeous. You raise your own butterflies and tame them too. What a perfect match for the tithonia. I wish I could have a flight of Monarchs on my tithonias.

  6. So, Queen Judy is our last monarch? I hope your hatchlings have a safe migration and come back for you to enjoy next summer!

  7. Hello Jason (and Judy ? LOL) .. these were beautiful shots .. even a little sad because we know the season is drawing to a close .. and it is your last butterfly child to leave home.
    I have a plan for next year so I don’t lose my cats .. I want to succeed so badly in helping them move on to the butterfly stage and lay their own eggs, keeping the cycle going .. so I will always have lots of “food” for them in the garden.

  8. It seems like we had more of every kind of butterfly in our garden this year. They must like it hot and dry. Congrats on your Monarch beauty. May she live to repopulate your garden.

  9. This is awesome! I had a student give me two monarch cats and they’re still in their chrysalises. I had several monarch cats in my garden, too. Very exciting! Great pics of Judy!

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