Monarch X-ING


TheGardenLady has written before about the disappearance of the Monarch butterfly. There was not one Monarch in my garden last summer. And TheGardenLady has written about the need to raise plants in your garden that will feed Monarch butterflies if they come to your area. Special plants are needed for Monarchs to feed and breed.

On this subject of the Monarch butterfly, an excellent new book recently appeared on about what one town is doing to encourage Monarchs to come and feed before laying eggs for a new generation of Monarch butterflies or migrating to Mexico. The book is ” MONARCH X-ING” by Pecki Sherman Witonsky. You can buy it here.

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Happy International Day of Happiness

monarch on asclepias, 7 Aug 2012 by mmwm

Today is the International Day of Happiness. The UN designation of The International Day of Happiness is for Wed., March 20th, which is also the first day of spring this year. Let us celebrate !!!! (see here)

What can make one happier than planning your garden if you are in areas where it is still too cold to plant and to be working in your garden if you live in areas warm enough to plant?

On this International Day of Happiness think about how happy you will be when the flowers you love will be blooming in your garden.  Flowers that bring joy not only to you, your family and friends, but your neighbors and people who walk and drive by your yard as well as the insects, birds and animals that survive because of you. Today bring out those catalogs and check off your list all the flowering plants you will grow in your garden this summer.

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Getting Ready for the Monarch Butterflies

Caterpillar to Butterfly… just emerged from its cocoon, Monarch is feeding on orange and gold flowers of a regrown milkweed by jungle mama

Are you, like TheGardenLady, getting ready for the Monarch Butterflies?

Yellow Swallowtail and Black Swallowtail in TheGardenLady’s Garden

My garden has lots of butterflies including the beautiful Yellow Swallowtail and Black Swallowtail butterflies enjoying the nectar. But as lovely as these butterflies and the other butterflies are in my garden, for some reason in my mind, the siting of the Monarch seems to let me know that all is right with the world. So I eagerly look forward to the Monarchs arrival.

A great computer site for following the Fall migration route of the Monarch butterflies is this.  This site will be posting Monarch butterfly sightings every Thurs. starting on August 26th and continuing through Nov. The Monarch Butterfly Journal is a fun and fact-filled site for adults and kids that is interactive so you can both report your sightings of Monarch butterflies flying South as well as find out where others have seen Monarchs flying.

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.