I have found that organic gardeners are so much more aware of what is going on in their gardens. Moreover, learning something new never stops. Since we are fortunate enough to be able to watch the migration of the monarch butterflies both in spring and fall, we make sure we have some milkweed plants (Asclepias curassavica) blooming in our gardens at those times. The monarchs lay their eggs on this plant. The larvae, or caterpillars that result, feed off the plant leaves. As the flowers mature, they form long pods. When dry, they break open, releasing little flat seeds.
Last week, as Alec, one of our grandsons, and I were watching a large monarch feeding, I pointed out to him the large, yellow aphids that were all over the plant. This is not unusual; aphids love asclepias, and usually do little harm to the plant. Yesterday, we went back to look at the aphids. They were mostly gone. We did see one ladybug larvae scooting around the plant. What surprised us even more were the several clusters of milkweed bug nymphs. Our research taught us that these bugs feed on the seeds of the milkweed plant. We both had just learned something new.