August 25: first chrysalis

The monarch caterpillars are getting fat. During the eclipse, I walked around the garden inspecting the undersides of leaves, taking inventory. I counted 11 or 12 monarch caterpillars on the milkweed, along with 3 swallowtail caterpillars on the rue and the parsley. The milkweed looks terrible — it’s gone to seed and is covered with aphids and big orange bugs that are eating the aphids. The echnicea looks terrible too — brown and fried — but in the mornings, goldfinches perch on the dried heads and sway while they eat coneflower seeds.

August echinacea
Dying, drying coneflowers for the goldfinches

The monarch caterpillars are drawn to the rue for making their chrysalises. I have been surprised by how popular the rue is.

caterpillar pre chrysalis
Monarch caterpillar pre-chrysalis

It currently hosts swallowtail caterpillars who are eating it, and monarch caterpillars who are hanging in their chrysalises from it.

pretty chrysalis
Same monarch caterpillar later in the day

And just because I like to check in each year to see what the status of all the plants were in prior years, here are some photos from the garden in late August:

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