My Butterfly Garden, Supporting the Monarch Butterfly!

When I lived in Illinois two of my granddaughters came for the summer.  We did a lot of fun things but one thing that I really enjoyed was gathering Monarch butterfly eggs and bringing them home to watch them hatch,monarch eggs

grow into big fat and beautiful caterpillars,

MonarchCaterpillarI-87-8

form a chrysalis

monarch-chrysalis

and emerge as the lovely butterfly.

monarch1

This pic shows the different stages of chrysalis formation.

monarch3 monarch-on-milkweed-500x357

So awesome!

 I read up on  the amazing life cycle and the even more amazing fall migration of the Monarch butterfly.  Nature is so very AWESOME and one place this is very evident is in how the Monarchs migrate to Mexico each winter.

migrate

I URGE you to become familiar with this!

I was saddened to learn that this wonderful species is in danger because the Milkweed plants that they lay their eggs on and on which the caterpillars feed, are being wiped out.

You may notice tall lovely milkweed plants along the roadside.

milkweed

Although once plentiful, these plants are dwindling in numbers  because of urban sprawl and from the use of herbicides.  Monarch numbers are dwindling and it is a shame to think that one day we may never see these lovely creatures.

Because I have such love and admiration for the Monarchs I decided to plant a butterfly garden and hope to one day soon have it certified as a Monarch Way-Station.

I hope that I may convince you to do the same.

Last year I searched until I found a garden store that sold Milkweed plants.  I was lucky and scored plants of 3 different milkweed varieties.milkweed2milkweed

Milkweed6

If you are not able to find plants in your local plant store you can order seeds online.

Milkweed is the host plant which means it is food for the catterpillars.  You will also need nectar plants in a butterfly garden which provide food for the butterflies themselves.  Lucky for me and you – these nectar plants are beautiful and fragrant additions to your garden.

bfly

A few varieties of nectar plants are:  Coneflowers, Asters, Black Eyed Susans, Monarda, Liatris, Joe Pye Weed, and Zinnia.

 Many cities have butterfly houses connected with their botanical centers – Here in Iowa we have a wonderful one in Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames Iowa.

http://www.reimangardens.com/

If you have a butterfly house near you I urge you to visit it.  Once you visit a butterfly house you will be inspired to attract these wonderful creatures to your garden.

The links below are great sources to learn about the Monarch butterfly, how to attract it to your garden and help it to survive.

http://www.heifer.org/join-the-conversation/blog/2014/June/bringing-butterflies-back-to-the-garden.html

http://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations/

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_30186.cfm

monarch

This is one of the Monarch butterflies I hatched and released

 

Are you inspired to create a butterfly garden and plant milkweed plants to help the Monarch butterfly?

  I want to become a ‘garden guerrilla’ and plant milkweed EVERYWHERE!

(Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh – don’t tattle on me)

 If you have a butterfly garden I would love to hear about it!

bfly1

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nanna
    Sep 02, 2016 @ 10:50:28

    I want to have a butterfly station and how to build a butterfly house but need help getting started. I already have some flowers and milkweed around my home because i live in the country but would love to have it near to the house to enjoy and further help the monarch especially. i found a monarch and a great swallowtail caterpillar and enjoy them very much

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    • Anonymous
      Sep 02, 2016 @ 22:01:40

      That is great! The Monarchs can use our help and so can other pollinators as well. I am glad to hear that you have Milkweed.

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      • Anonymous
        Sep 02, 2016 @ 22:03:09

        This is me (ruthschickens). I don’t know why it posted as anonymous. Maybe because I am on a different computer.

        Like

  2. violetmed
    Sep 28, 2014 @ 02:52:40

    Yes, I grow both flowers for nectar and flowers for hosting lots of different kinds of butterflies. I still have some Gulf Fritillary butterflies munching on my Passion Flower vine. Stop by my blog and take a look!

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  3. Barbara Faust
    Sep 22, 2014 @ 12:18:05

    You inspired me to post a note to myself to locate where to buy the Milkweed Plant (egg incubator of sorts for the baby Monarch ) and some Aster, Black-eyed Susan, Coneflower, and Zinnia nectar providing pretty flowers for the adult Monarchs. Sure is SAD those magnificent winged works of art may not be around if we don’t try to help them survive…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. nzajicek
    Sep 21, 2014 @ 17:04:01

    Ruth I would love to have a butterfly garden..I do have Black Eyed Susan in my yard but I don’t have much of anything else.
    I have however witnessed on a few occasion the migration of the butterflies to Mexico as there path crosses the highway to California from AZ. In AZ the kids have a fall break and some years we would go to California to visit Disneyland and they are crossing by the Billions…It is miraculous…Sadly they get hit a lot..but I can assure you so many make it!!
    I am sad. I will plant milk weed as well..Shhh don’t tell my hubby!

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    • ruthschickensruthschickens
      Sep 22, 2014 @ 03:28:48

      That is wonderful! Don’t worry, my lips are sealed! If we all do just a little bit, together it will make a difference. I would so love to see the Monarch migration and visit their overwintering place. That is something I have on my ‘bucket’ list. Meanwhile I will be happy seeing them visit my garden.

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  5. Steven Criger
    Sep 21, 2014 @ 14:34:30

    cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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