The first Monarch Butterflies of the year were spotted in our garden back in June. However, they were loners who made a brief appearance and then were seen no more. It’s only been in the last week or so that we’ve seen a pair of Monarchs maintain a consistent presence. Or maybe it’s been multiple pairs replacing each other.

Monarch butterfly on Anise Hyssop

Either way, for the last week or so Monarchs have been a consistent presence in our garden. Now I’m hoping that their numbers increase.

Monarch Buttefly on Wild Bergamot

There have been other butterflies, with Black Swallowtails making daily appearances for a few weeks now. We’ve also had occasional Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Red Admirals, Sulphurs, Skippers, and Checkerspots.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Bee Balm

No photos, though – except for the Monarchs and the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

Monarch butterfly on Zinnia

The Monarchs have been feeding on a variety of flowers. They seem fond of Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum), Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), Cutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata); and Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum). 

Monarch Buttefly on Cutleaf Coneflower

Zinnias are also popular. Most years their favorite annual is Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). However, this year my Tithonias are late to bloom. That should change within a week or so.


Have you been seeing many butterflies in your garden so far this year?

48 Comments on “Return of the Monarchs”

  1. In the woods, I’ve seen a lot of Pearl Crescents and Little Wood Satyr, as well as little yellow ones. At the Rare Plant Preserve, there have been assorted swallowtails nectaring on button bush, milkweeds, and spicebush. I may have seen Monarchs, but I’ve only seen those in flight, and they could have been Viceroys or Queens.

  2. If I’m lucky, I get a glimpse of a Swallowtail, but the most frequent visitor is at the cabbage butterfly: white and unassuming. Sadly, nothing as glamorous as your selection. Beautiful pictures!

  3. You are so lucky! I’ve seen a monarch or two, a yellow swallowtail, a black swallowtail, a sulphur, but one at a time and only briefly despite all the coneflower, zinnia, rudbekia, cupplant, milkweed, etc. Very disappointing. It’s been really dry here, though, so maybe that is the reason?

  4. Last year we had a ton of monarchs–the caterpillars ate our milkweed down to bones. This year, we’ve only seen one. We did have a lot of yellow swallowtails earlier in the summer but, other than that, it’s been a slow year for butterflies.

  5. Pingback: Return of the Monarchs — gardeninacity

  6. I am in central Indiana and this summer has been barren for many things, including butterflies. It is August 1st and despite having 6 of the Torch Tithonia sunflowers in my yard I have seen 2 Monarchs and 1 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail so far. Granted, I don’t sit and stare at my yard every day from sunup to sundown but used to I could look out anytime and see butterflies. Not anymore. The bees seem to be in significant decline as well. All the loss makes me sad.

    The only increase this summer (besides my nemesis, bindweed) has been hummingbirds. Instead of spying one every few days there are two that visit specific gardens several times a day.

  7. I was so lucky to see a Monarch yesterday while I was working on the back garden .. it went for a brightly coloured cone flower and had some sips of nectar .. and of course you never have your camera when you need it ? LOL .. I am hoping Pink Diamond hydrangea standard will have the same affect it had last mid August .. a total dinner bell for them to come in , have a sip and rest a bit .. butterflies are such a gift in the garden .. I can’t see enough of them !

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