One of the fun things about butterfly gardening is the fact that it’s like an ongoing science project, especially if you have kids.

The Beginning

A couple years back I bought my oldest a Butterfly Treehouse
on Amazon. It was around $20, and then you still had to pay another $7 for the butterfly larvae themselves. It was a lot of fun for two weeks until we had to let the resulting painted lady butterflies go. This left my daughter with an empty butterfly treehouse and made her incredibly sad, but I couldn’t keep shelling out $7 every week for more caterpillars.

Backyard Butterfly Quest

So we went out on a quest in our backyard. Amazingly enough, if you have some butterfly-attracting plants around, or even just the right weeds (like the opportunistic wild milkweed that seems to pop up in our flower beds) it’s not difficult to spot monarch and swallowtail caterpillars. We quickly found more caterpillars to repopulate the treehouse. All was right with the world.

This has become kind of a tradition over the past couple of summers. We usually either have caterpillars or butterflies in our kitchen or on our porch. We keep the butterflies for a couple of days before setting them free. We watch the caterpillars gorge themselves on leafy plants from our yard. We gaze in awe as each caterpillar forms a chrysalis. Then, one day, there’s a beautiful but slightly crumpled-looking butterfly hanging upside down from the top of the butterfly treehouse.

We never get tired of these little miracles.