Monday, January 25th, 2010...12:00 am

Save the Monarch Butterfly – Create a Monarch Butterfly Waystation

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Have TheGardenLady readers ever thought of having their garden become a Monarch butterfly Waystation? Let me explain.

Everyone knows that the Monarch follows a route of migration from Mexico up to Canada in the spring and then returns to Mexico every fall. This is a herculean task and the monarch butterfly needs lots of nutrients or places to lay its eggs to survive this rigorous flight. However, the population of monarch butterflies is deteriorating rapidly. The population is down to one-tenth of its peak in 1996. This is because of the destruction of farms and the urban building of too many houses, paved parking lots and the use of herbicide resistant crops as well as pesticides.

So how can you help? In 2005, insect ecologist Chip Taylor, of the University of Kansas in Lawrence came up with the idea of creating at least 10,000 “waystations” wherever Monarchs fly. This is how people who have a garden or flower bed can help: by planting plants that monarchs need to lay eggs, like milkweed and nectaring plants for them to drink, like zinnias; these are sun loving plants and butterflies love full sun,too. Also offer a little water in a birdbath type of vessel. Monarch butterflies can and will stop at your home for much needed sustenance. And you can have the pleasure of seeing butterflies fly in your garden.

Monarch in our yard on milkweed by rowrlm

You can get your own waystation kit online here or by calling 1-800-780-9986. Kits contain seeds for milkweeds and nectar plants. You can read more about the Monarch butterfly’s need here.

The Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnata is the best perennial plant for the Monarch butterfly. Another milkweed that Monarchs like is tropical Milkweed Asclepias Curassavica. New England asters Aster novae angliae is an excellent nectar plant for Monarchs. Zinnia elegans and Zinnia lilliput are also excellent nectar plants to raise. These seeds can all be purchased here.

And having these plants in your garden will also attract other butterflies besides the Monarch butterflies.

So, please, Dear Readers, won’t you plan and plant your garden with butterflies in mind?. Make your garden a “waystation” and send TheGardenLady photos of your waystation with its visiting butterflies. Help restore the numbers of Monarchs to the environment. Thanks.

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  • Oh my goodness! I can’t believe you just posted this! I have just recently become aware of the plight of the Monarch! And it is all I have been able to think about for two days! I love this…I want a butterfly station…wow!

  • I live in The State of Wasshington. Monarchs don’t occur gere do they? What states do they live in?

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