Awhile back a neighbor showed us Monarch butterflies they’d hatched and raised in their home to release to their garden.

We decided to help the Monarch population too, since it’s currently threatened.

The first thing I realized is that I needed to encourage the beautiful milkweed in the yard instead of containing growth.

Monarchs eat milkweed and use it to pupate much more than other plants, like butterfly weed and its flowers.

Each year I take seeds and toss them around, and have a beautiful field now.

Spread the word – leave milkweed, butterfly weed and Joe Pye weed where it grows.

It helps other lepidoptera and wildlife thrive.

Our nature-loving neighbor got us started turning Monarch caterpillars into chrysalises.

She gave us a spare mesh laundry hamper placed upside down on newspaper in a cardboard box lid.

I added milkweed leaves for the caterpillars to eat until ready to pupate.

In total we found 6 caterpillars over 2 weeks and sequentially added them to the hamper to protect them from feathered predators and storms.

They’d attach themselves to a plastic salad box lid to pupate.

Seems the emerging butterflies bored Purmione…they just weren’t active enough for this feisty young panther. Yaaawn

Having one cling to a finger is a real smile-jerker and perfect for macrophotography.

After a test run for finger grip, I’d put them on a vase of flowers I’ve seen adults feast on – here, sedum, hydrangea and dahlia.

It was tough to say ‘bye, but I put the beauties outside the morning each seemed energetic enough.

Luckily there are several butterfly bushes outside…I’d bring the jar of flowers next to a shrub and they’d transfer on their own.

It’s a treat protecting monarch butterflies in summer & early fall.

I plan on adding more butterfly-friendly flowers and plants to our ‘accidental’ butterfly garden.

It’s worth its weight in tingles.

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