So, my sister, Jessica, sent all her nephieces a butterfly kit last year like one she'd done and blogged about. She thought it would be a fun and educational project for all of them to do together. But life is ... life, and time got away from me last year and I never ordered the caterpillars.
Finding myself with a little more time this summer for some odd reason, I went to order the caterpillars with my coupon and they turned me down saying that it's too hot for them to deliver them to this region. I even tried setting a date in the future in every single month (it snows here in the wintertime!) and it always gave the same response.
So this weekend when I went to the Butterfly Exhibit at the Botanic Gardens (I posted about that trip --with pictures -- separately), I asked them about where to get caterpillars for our project. They suggested I visit Plants of the Southwest, because although they ordered most of their caterpillars from a place that provides them to various Butterfly Pavilions nationwide, they also found just buying some local plants provided them with abundant caterpillars (which come, for free!, with each plant). They had been there just two days prior and were sure there would still be plenty for the taking there at the nursery.
Today, I hauled the kids over to Plants of the Southwest and we looked at all their dill and fennel plants (these were the suggested plants from the Botanic's staff) and there was not one caterpillar. We even searched their onsite butterfly garden, but no.
So we purchased one dill and one fennel plant, which we'll plant in our backyard and hope and pray some butterflies find them and lay their eggs on them so that next year, maybe we'll have some natural and homegrown caterpillars!
In the meantime, I'm sending kids into the nearby arroyo to look at the local plant life and see if they can find some wild caterpillars for us. I'll let you know if we find any!