Each morning I take a peek into the butterfly garden hoping to see a fluttering movement of monarch butterflies.
My dad started this small but sweet garden several years before he passed away in August of 2007. After reading about the decline of the monarch due mostly to a lack of milkweed, he dedicated a garden to both milkweed plants and a butterfly house. He researched, created, then cared for the garden and awaited the return of the monarch. Every year the monarchs would come, albeit in very small numbers. Last summer, August 2014, we had only one monarch visit the garden.
Delighted yet disheartened, I vowed to do more to help the monarchs. I noticed the milkweeds were late bloomers last season so I made a concerted effort to guard and protect them this season. I lavished them with love and attention, watering and willing them to grow and bloom. And bloom they did. This summer the milkweeds are flourishing yet with nary a monarch in sight.
This morning, as I have every morning this summer, I walked to the end of our covered verandah and looked down at the garden, eyes glancing to and fro looking for fluttering wings. My eyes stopped short at the sight of a brown butterfly fluttering his wings. I dashed to the house to grab my camera and ran to the garden to capture the moment.
It wasn’t a monarch but a Great Spangled Fritillary. I did a little research and discovered they feed on milkweed too. It’s nice to know that by trying to help the monarchs, we’ve also been helping other butterflies flourish. Here are several photos I took of our butterfly visitor.