We've had quite a lot of success with our certified Monarch Waystation, but with all the milkweed, caterpillars and chrysalises (chrysalii??) I've never actually seen a Monarch emerge.
Until today, that is.
I noticed yesterday that one of the chrysalises had turned color, so I knew it wasn't going to be long.
I went outside this morning, meaning to get a photo of the almost black chrysalis but when I got out there, I was too late for that particular photo, but right on time for the rest of the show!
I stood a couple of feet away, fascinated, and snapped several photos.
I was a little bit worried because although it was nice and sunny today, it was also quite windy and I thought the butterfly might get blown away before it was ready to fly.
In fact, after being buffeted around for half an hour or so, it did get blown down. I went outside and didn't see it so I assumed it had flown away, but actually my husband noticed it on the ground. I put my hand down next to it and it crawled on to my fingers!
Thinking that what it needed was nourishment, I walked it over to the Dallas Red Lantana and set it down on the plant. The area had the double advantage of being in the sunshine and also protected from a lot of the wind.
It seemed to sit in one place for quite a while and I worried again that something was wrong, and that perhaps the episode would end the same way it did last Christmas when a Monarch emerged and was unable to fly.
But about 30 minutes later I went outside again and as I raised the camera to take another photo, the butterfly fluttered up and away over the wall. Later still, I spotted a Monarch flying around in the garden looking strong and healthy. I like to think it was "my" Monarch and that my humble little Monarch Waystation is making a difference.
We've still got three more chrysalises that I know of and I hope all goes smoothly for them too.
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.