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GreenFolks Notes

by Sarah Moore The GreenFolks Garden currently has only one milkweed plant growing, but it is well watched and cared for, as milkweed is the host plant for Monarch butterflies. My family has a nice stand of milkweed next to our house. My son recently picked some leaves that had the tiny butterfly eggs on them. We have been enjoying watching the caterpillars grow and change into chrysalises. As a woman who has given birth to two children, I have a new respect for monarchs. Watching the caterpillar (or larva stage) change into a chrysalis is like watching a creature give birth with its whole body. First after fattening up from about the size of a grain of sand to a fat two-inch caterpillar in about 11 days, they got nice and sleepy and hung upside down for half a day or so. Then they started to move again, wiggling and writhing until their skin burst open and there was the bright green chrysalis, smaller than I had imagined but beautiful. ~At first there is a shadow image of the caterpillar still in the shape of the chrysalis, but as that fades two perfect bracelets of tiny gold dots appear, one tightly-spaced and the other widely-spaced. Seeing these gold decorations on the forms does make one wonder if there is some great hand out there that painted them. If you don’t already have milkweed in your life I highly recommend planting some. You can plant them from seeds of plants already in the neighborhood, or they can be ordered for free from livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm If you don’t have a yard, come by the GreenFolks Garden and check out our milkweed to see if it has any butterflies on it!