Hollyhocks and Caterpillars

I love flowers, but I do not have a green thumb, and I live in the desert.  The most we have ever grown to maturity are sunflowers and morning glories.  There are other seeds in the ground in our yard, but they have failed to come up.  But one day last summer, a lone hollyhock did survive the winter and we are enjoying the first flowers this spring.  In addition, a painted lady butterfly visited the plant numerous times several weeks ago, and now we know why...
 We actually have three tenants.  One is hiding under one of the leaves.  Everyday they are growing bigger. These two photos were yesterday.  

 And here is their progress today:

The funny thing is that I planned to purchase the caterpillars online, which are ten painted lady caterpillars for $15, plus shipping and handling.  So I checked out a couple of books from the library on the life of a butterfly to read to Vin and Eva to get them familiar with the process.  But how nice that I do not have to buy them now because we can watch the process right there on the leaves of our hollyhocks - for free!

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