Saturday, August 23, 2014

Make Way for the Monarchs!

Your average person may not have noticed, but the Monarch population has been declining for about 10 years or so. A large part of the problem is due to loss of habitat and their migratory habits are being threatened. Butterflies are an important pollinator and without pollination we wouldn’t have all of those wonderful fruits and veggies that grace our kitchen tables or those beautiful flowers that we have in vases on our tables.

I noticed several years ago that I wasn’t seeing Monarchs in my garden. I get plenty of the black and yellow tiger swallowtails, the white Cabbage Moths, and even the Spicebush Swallowtails from time to time, but no Monarchs. I had decided it was time to look into doing something about it. I found and learned more about it and what I could do to help them. I discovered that I have a VERY monarch-friendly garden with lots of plants they love, but I was missing a key ingredient: Milkweed. Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed and as butterflies milkweed is where they lay their eggs.

In the spring, I had planted milkweed and low and behold, I saw my first monarch in years just a couple of weeks ago. I was in the garden weeding and was hot and sweaty after a long day in the sun. I was plum-tuckered-out and was ready to call it quits when I looked up and saw it flitting about wildly from plant to plant in the garden. It seemed particularly fond of the butterfly bushes (surprise, surprise) and the white David Phlox. I ran inside and grabbed my camera and ran around after that butterfly like a crazy woman, jumping up and down in excitement. I sure hope the neighbors didn’t see me.

Brian had a friend over and here I am all dirty and sweaty, smiling ear to ear, showing him my butterfly pictures on my camera. Yeh, he thought I was a crazy person.

This is a weird shot of the monarch flying away. Almost looks like it’s flying upside down.

Now that my garden has more than enough monarch-loving plants to qualify, my garden is listed as a Monarch Waystation by MonarchWatch. I even have the certificate to prove it and I think I will splurge for the sign from them that you can get to put in your garden. Yeah Monarchs!

For more information, visit these informative websites:

8/24/14 Update: I saw another one today! Well, it may have been the same one, but hey, I’ll take it. This time it was on the Joe Pye Weed.

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