As you know, we spend significant time in Florida every year and while we're there we help nature along as much as possible. We get cuttings from my family's yards (which is an understatement - their yards include 10 acres of gorgeous gardens, and what I affectionately call 'the Amazon forest' when referring to my brother's yard). Some of our plants include milk weeds which is the only plant that Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on, as well as the only plant the Monarch caterpillars eat before cocooning.
I watched the first group of tiny Monarch caterpillars and, to my horror, saw about 6 killed and eaten by wasps, so I bought milk weed in pots and brought the remaining caterpillars in to my porch to protect them. It became a significant project with 9 chrysalis. Unfortunately, three cocoons failed and with another three the Monarchs' were born deformed and we had to euthanize them. But the last three turned into gorgeous large healthy Monarch butterflies. We have another in chrysalis now and six more baby caterpillars eating their way to being butterflies. It's a magical process to watch up close. Here are some photos of the 'nursery' and butterflies.
Various stages of chrysalis
See the three caterpillars on the left?
Two caterpillars here.
The magnificent result of this miraculous transformation.