A Dainty Dish to Set Before the King

October 4, 2014

Since dusting off my camera and beginning this blog, butterflies have proven to be my most treasured subject.

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While writing these posts, I find I am often searching for a way to insert yet another amazing butterfly photo.

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As mentioned in previous posts (zinnia joy, fluttery feelings), this is due in large part to my patch of zinnias.
The intoxicating effect of this dainty dish extinguishes the fear of the butterfly, to the human intruder,
which has allowed me to capture several sought after close-up images……

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except one.

The elusive monarch- king of the butterflies- has not been a willing subject. I have seen a few flitting about
the zinnias, but they did not like my prying camera lens. Finally, after a summer of trying, I captured
this scraggly one in the meadow.

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His tattered appearance did not signify ‘king’ to me. How would he make it to Mexico? Maybe, he was
hit by a car?

Then a few days ago, this big fellow showed up in the zinnias. There was nothing tattered about him,
and his effortless gliding made Mexico seem nearby.

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As he guzzled the dainty zinnia dish, he had no fear. He seemed a different species than the tattered fellow
in the meadow. Curiously, I googled them and realized I had much to learn.

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It is actually the 4th generation of Monarchs that make the 3000 mile journey to Mexico or California.
The first three generations live only 2-6 weeks. After traveling North and laying their eggs, they
die shortly thereafter. The 4th generation, which hatch in the Fall, can live up to 9 months.

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Their brilliant orange color is actually a warning to predators. If eaten, they are poisonous. The poison
comes from ingesting a toxin from the milkweed plant which is necessary for their survival.

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I will definitely be collecting milkweed seed pods to spread about the prairie this Fall. I am also gathering
zinnia seeds with herculean dreams of zinnia gardens out every window.

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The astonishing accomplishments of the monarch make my herculean dreams seem more plausible.
After all, if he can complete a 3000 mile journey, I should be able to plant a few gardens. What an
extraordinary creature!

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Have

a

good

weekend.

Latest Comments

  1. Marcia says:

    Beautiful, Julie! I am definitely planting a zinnia garden next year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Penny says:

    Very cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. amaryllislog says:

    Your butterflies are beautiful. I love Monarchs. I grew up in California, we would go camping at Thanksgiving at Morro Bay, it was always full of Monarchs. It was an amazing spectical to see, their winter resort!

    Like

  4. Julie's garden blog says:

    What a super post. I had no idea the monarch was poisonous. Such a beautiful butterfly. We are lucky and have them in the garden over the warm months. I think the milkweed plant may be called a swan plant here. Hope you enjoyed your weekend 🙂

    Like

  5. Nick says:

    I enjoyed your post on the monarchs. Hopefully your blog will lead your readers to learn more how to help the declining population by planting milkweed and reducing the use of herbicides on farm crops. Next spring if you’d like to try your hand at raising some monarchs from eggs, I can get you started given that this has been my summertime passion and project for years. You’ve got a prime location for them!

    Like

    • Julie says:

      I, as well as Jeffrey, would love that! I just collected milkweed seed pods today to scatter around in hopes of increasing our population.

      Like

  6. Bethula says:

    Wonderful photos, an amazing blog 🙂

    Like

  7. ladyfi says:

    How very gorgeous!

    Like

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