Garden Photo of the Day

A Butterfly Transformation

By Kim Charles

Peggy Sheets captures the monarch butterfly transformation up close

"I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and get really lazy about tending to my plants at my office. The lack of weeding allowed the butterfly weed to reseed freely so that I seldom walk outside without seeing a monarch in one form or another – caterpillar, chrysalis, or butterfly. The morning glory also reseeded and the cape honeysuckle snaked through the tangle of passionflower vines and Peggy Martin roses to peek at the sun. Incidentally, it’s probably not nice to include the poo shown in the caterpillar photo, but that’s the indication it will soon transform itself into a chrysalis."

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/28/2016

    Beautiful and educational photos, Peggy. Just the other day, here in my east TN garden, I noticed a multitude of monarchs on butterfly bushes and small flowered zinnias . I guess my garden plants are just a pitstop in their migration to their winter habitat. It was a treat to see them.

  2. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/28/2016

    So great that you enjoy the Monarchs. They need more friends like you!
    I did not see many this year, but was able to help one caterpillar reach it full butterfly-ness.

    1. Doxnmomx2 10/28/2016

      We all have to protect them. This has been a learning experience for me, in fact, I learned to leave them alone even though there are predators.

  3. thevioletfern 10/28/2016

    Beautiful! Gardens gone wild are the best.

  4. Cenepk10 10/28/2016

    Cool !!!!!!!!

  5. jagardener 10/28/2016

    Nature at its best. Those caterpillars are absolutely beautiful. Even if they sometimes destroy the plants.

    1. Doxnmomx2 10/28/2016

      No one accuses me of having a pretty garden! I just let the "cats" eat away. I'm sure I'd be sad if I was trying to have something near perfect. The passion vines are equally chewed on by the gulf fritillary butterflies. Finally, justification for my laziness.

  6. schatzi 10/28/2016

    Beautiful! Keep up the good work - or lack of it (weeding)!

  7. GrannyCC 10/28/2016

    Fantastic!! What a privilege to have caught this transformation.

  8. Chris_N 10/28/2016

    Great photos. I've found plenty of Monarch caterpillars and I've found the chrysalises but have never seen a caterpillar in the starting stage of the transformation. Is that the tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica? We can grow it as an annual up here but it won't survive our Wisconsin winters.

    We were just in California and saw hundreds of Monarchs at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. This is one of the wintering spots to which Monarchs west of the Rockies migrate. Amazingly, many have to come over the Sierra Nevadas. Of course, all the ones east of the Rockies migrate to Mexico. Luckily, they can easily fly over walls.

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