Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Discovery of Archie Jr.'s

 Last week I talked about Archie's Garden, when I got free worms and milkweed. Turns out those milkweed came with a bonus prize:

On May 8 while tending my seedlings to my great surpise there was an Archie Jr.!
As if things couldn't get any better, the next day I found...

Two monarch caterpillars at once - and we've never had any! I am extatic. Mother was less thrilled, her first reaction when I did the happy dance and "I got Archie's" song was "oh no, now you're naming caterpillars?". She was a bit cheerier when I explained why they are named Archie Jr and why they are so special, as well as making the promise that they don't come inside the house... (I accidentally brought a green one in with some salad greens last year and her reaction when I found it was rather hilarious)

Three days after discovery Archie Jr #1 has most definitely grown... Also, they each tried to stop my heart by disappearing for a day, but they each came back.

And by one week later:

Ok, at this point I was starting to have doubts about those Milkweed seedlings keeping up with the Archies. And those doubts turned out to be well founded because by the 15th they'd eaten one milkweed seedling bare of leaves and were working on the stem; and the other seedling triplet was only a degree better. Commence emergency nursery runs...

First I went to my local nursery: asked for milkweed, got a funny look, clarified "butterfly milkweed, butterfly bush" and got pointed to the only variety they had (and also picked up a purty columbine and echeveria because I am weak) only to discover a couple of hours later that the Archies weren't eating it... wrong butterfly bush. They gave me buddleja, similar common name, way wrong species :/ (I will be returning it, just haven't gotten around to it quite yet)

So I zoomed over to Home Depot because damnit, milkweed is popular now and it's blooming season and they ought to have it! But no, they don't. *&#%$^@!!!

And it was off to the International Garden Center (I could wander that place for hours... alas it is a bit pricey and reserved for special days *sigh*) where they're nicest little old guy happily showed me each of the milkweeds they had. Real milkweeds - Asclepias tuberosa (there was also a buddleja in bloom, thankfully I learned the first time though). I finally picked out the all yellow one first previewed in my Belated Bloom Day post. I also took home a blue annual dwarf delphinium *coughcough* for my mom of course.

And at home I wasted no time repotting that sucker and relocating the Archies!


Naturally a day after that one of them disappeared again... he has not come back yet `:( Then my remaining Archie Jr. started doing the Dracula here:

 He did the Dracula for 3 days straight. I thought he was going into crystalis mode, but no it was just a ruse. He started nibbling again...while I did battle with his cousins - the Fuzzy Terrors!

  You deplete my Kale, you get banished to the ornamentals in the front yard... :P

Anyway, last time I saw Archie Jr. he was still happily munching away his milkweed and getting super chubba. I didn't see him for a couple of day again, but then he reappeared this morning. I just wish he'd get to the crystalis stage so I can stop fussing over him!

 *sigh* I am a sucker for living critters.

Btw, the little milkweed seedlings look like they may acutally survive. The one that was eaten bare is trying to sprout new leaves, as are the other ones. Hoorah!


  1. Hi Mary:

    Howdy from Archie's Garden! Thanks for your comment over there, and lookie how your Archies are doing!! So if your pudgy Archies have disappeared, they've probably gone off somewhere to "J", that is, to hang upside-down in a "j" shape in preparation for pupating. They usually "j" for about 24 hours before they change into a chrysalis, so when you see that keep an eye out! It's not unusual for them to crawl several yards away from where they've been feeding however, so you may not find the chrysalis if you have an overgrown garden like we do. That's okay--they can handle turning into a butterfly without our supervision. :)

    When they feeding they will often crawl off and back--exercise, I guess--and sometimes to shed their skins, so don't worry too much if they disappear for a day or so.

    Drop over to the website (or the Archie's Garden Facebook page) and let us know how it goes! And thanks for feeding the butterflies. :)

  2. Thanks for advising on the wandering away! I was really feeling bad there for a awhile. Plus this guy did the J for days and just changed his mind and continued eating. What a weirdo! I will be updating!

  3. Aghghghg! This is SO exciting! How awesome that these guys were stow-aways. I cannot wait for the next installment in the Archie (Jr.) Chronicles!!!

  4. Thank you! I can't wait either! ;)

  5. That is so cool, I planted Butterfly Weed here at the gardens last year and it is coming in quite nicely this year. Thats what I'm hoping to achieve is Butterflies laying eggs.

  6. Corner Garden SueMay 30, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    What a fun adventure, and you got some new plants in the process. I'm glad to learn that the caterpillars leave and come back. Sometimes I see them, other times, I don't. I'm always afraid the birds have eaten them.


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