Shawn and I were moving plants and doing maintenance on flowers beds when I caught of flash of deep orange in my peripheral vision. One of the monarch butterflies had exited its chrysalis and was drying its wings in preparation for flight. The garden chores were forgotten as we ran for our smartphones and crawled on our knees for the best camera angle.
As I watched those brand new wings opening and closing in the gentle breeze I thought, “May I never be so bogged down with care and worry that I forget to give God praise for His wonderful creation.” The path of this creature from egg to beautiful butterfly is a great example of the change that happens when a soul trusts Jesus as Lord and Savior. Paul described the spiritual metamorphosis this way:
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
If we allow Him to work, God will surely change us for the better. So much to learn in the garden!
The journey from caterpillar to mature butterfly took approximately fifteen days. During these two weeks we’ve made countless checks on progress and pointed out the chrysalises to anyone who happened by our home. Many adults have never seen the stages of monarch butterfly development, and have not given much thought to the impact monoculture lawns have on species other than humans.
I hope the monarchs will plug our garden in their travel guide and make a note that this is a safe place offering excellent service, great food, and clean restrooms. Perhaps even more will visit next year.
And I wanted to get the pictures in one post for those who may need them for a child’s school project.
The monarch zeroed in on the milkweed in our garden and left its eggs behind (August 25). I marvel that out of all the blossoms in the garden the butterfly picked the one plant necessary for the survival of its offspring.
Eat your salad!
The caterpillars hatched and proceeded to munch any and all milkweed in the garden. We have three varieties of milkweed with plans to include additional plantings next season.
- Milkweed asclepias curassavica “Blood Flower”
- Milkweed asclepias syriaca also called common milkweed
- Milkweed asclepias tuberosa known to most gardeners as butterfly weed
Hide and spin!
When the milkweed leaves were exhausted and the caterpillars disappeared we embarked on a search and discover mission. We located five chrysalises hanging in various spots around the garden including two on the porch railing, one in an azalea bush, one in the parsley, and the last dangling high on the salvia. I am certain there are more but grew tired of playing the garden version of “Where’s Waldo.”
Prepare to exit!
We almost missed the big event. Less than twenty-four hours ago this chrysalis was pale green. Now the walls are thinning and the butterfly’s wing design shines through. I intended to film a short video but turned my back for a few minutes and pop! The butterfly had merged.
Dry and stretch!
The butterfly dried it wings and prepared for the next phase of its life journey, the long flight to Mexico.
Leave behind a memory!
As we watched the butterfly launched skyward (September 28, 2017) and left behind this token of thanks for our hard work in providing a safe habitat with the correct food source. I am determined to expand the garden and hopefully host distant relatives of this butterfly next August.
What’s happening in your garden?