I am saddened by the fact that Monarch butterflies are threatened. Their numbers are declining as humans mow down more and more of their native habitat. Here in Grassy Creek, expanding habitat for Monarch butterflies has turned out to be successful and fairly easy.
Last winter, a friend brought me a small baggie of fluffy seed he had collected from butterfly weed. I started the seed in the greenhouse in early spring, transplanted them into pots in May, and planted them in the garden mid-June. By September the plants were full-grown and beautiful, attracting butterflies.
|New butterfly weed plants were in full bloom by September.|
Monarch butterflies only lay eggs on milkweed plants and butterfly weed (asclepias tuberosa) is a variety of milkweed.
Eggs grow into caterpillars that eat nothing but milkweed until they grow large enough to form their chrysalis for the final metamorphosis to the Monarch butterfly. This year I saw both the butterflies and the caterpillars on the butterfly weed.
|Monarch Caterpillar on milkweed|
|Monarch Caterpillar starting chrysalis on tall ageratum|
|The "Bowl" full of goldenrod which provides nectar for migrating Monarchs, September.|