There are simply hundreds of caterpillars on the outside plants now, in fact so many that the plants are getting really eaten and I keep catching a few at a time and taking them to the prison, where there are still a lot of leaves.
So far, in the prison, I've had 4 butterflies hatch and there are several more chrysalis hanging around.
Three of the butterflies were perfect and after a day of puffing out wings and drying off I let them go in the garden and it's just lovely!
However, one of them was very deformed. The chrysalis wasn't smooth like all the others, it was rough and sort of bulgy ( is that a word??) Now I've learned that this means it's more than likely the butterfly will be deformed if it even lives. I didn't know that before.
When it emerged it had holes in all of it's wings and seemed to have problems holding onto things. I fed it for 2 days with sugar water - it wasn't that interested, then it died. I was really sad but that's nature, I suppose.
I still haven't seen one emerging from it's chrysalis, so I hope I do before the end of the butterfly season. If I do I'll take photos, but if not this will be the last 'Fred' update!
It's been an amazing experience watching them, something I've never done before and will do again next year.
Thanks for all the comments and well wishes for the Freds, it's been lovely!
just before she flew off! Sometimes a butterfly will come right up to us in the garden and I like to think it's one of the ones that I let free, just popping back to say "Hi"