Help a little flutterby

beebalm709_edited Maybe it’s just my strange way, but I’ve always thought a butterfly should be called flutterby … think about it.  Then spend a few minutes contemplating what a shame it would be to not see butterflies fluttering by.  That’s what Monarch Watch hopes to prevent, at least for the troubled, beat down Monarchs.

Winter rain storms apparently hit the Monarch’s Mexico home pretty hard – something many of us can really relate to right now.  So far March has dumped 13.5 inches of rain on my southern Connecticut gardens – nearly 4 inches just today.  Unfortunately, Monarch’s don’t recover from heavy rains quite as well as humans – there are people who really watch this stuff – and a report in a local paper noted 50 to 60 percent of the Monarch breeding population might have been destroyed during winter rains.

The good people at Monarch Watch are asking gardeners and others for help by planting Monarch Waystations – places with lots of nectar producing flowers to feed Monarchs and other butterflies on their travels – and specifically for Monarchs, milkweed – the only plant Monarchs use as their nursery.

coneflower 'Green Envy' and visitor Black-eyed Susan This will be easy for me and anyone who wants to join in.  Butterflies love coneflowers, black-eyed Susan, bee balm, sedum, asters, and many other plants already growing in my gardens (good nectar sources).  But I’m going to offer more by planting milkweed in sunny spots along the edge of the woods … and you could too.  And while at it, try planting some of the larval host plants sought by other flutterbys.

Monarch Watch lists all kinds of other ways for gardeners, communities, and schools to get involved.  All you have to do is check it out.

If butterflies don’t catch your fancy, maybe your more of a bee person.  Then you must see Debbie’s post on The Great Sunflower Project.  And those who like both butterflies and bees will be happy to know many of the same flowers support both.

9 comments for “Help a little flutterby

  1. March 30, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Joene,

    I hadn’t heard that about the rains impacting the monarchs. We get so caught up in our own backyards, so to speak, that we forget what’s happening so far away will soon impact us too.

    I planted some butterfly weed last year and am anxious to see if it attracts butterflies as reported. In my garden, agastache is hands down THE butterfly magnet – it attracts bees too. Thanks for the shout out about my bee post.

  2. March 30, 2010 at 6:33 am

    A timely post – the flutterby’s are an important part of summer here! We have milkweed for the hearty monarchs who make it. Fennel is great for attracting the swallowtails. I have a butterfly “resting house” someone gave me, but haven’t actually seen a butterfly going in:)

  3. joenesgarden
    March 30, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Debbie, I hope our rains cut down on the mole/vole populations. I don’t know if such heavy, continuous rain will do it … but I hope.

  4. joenesgarden
    March 30, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Cyndy, isn’t flutterby the perfect name? I keep a rock in a bird bath as a butterfly perch from which they can drink, but I’ve not seen them use it.

  5. March 30, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I collected some milkweed seeds last year for spring planting. Shall i scatter it with the wind or actually “plant” it? Any experience with this?

  6. joenesgarden
    March 30, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    fern, follow this link to learn more about planting milkweed seeds … again from the good folks at Monarch Watch. http://www.monarchwatch.org/milkweed/prop.htm
    Good luck.

  7. March 30, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Very kind of you…thanks!

  8. March 31, 2010 at 12:23 am

    I’m trying to provide food and habitat for local butterflies.

    • joenesgarden
      March 31, 2010 at 8:05 am

      Planting nectar producing flowers helps. It sounds like Monarchs could use a little extra attention right now and we can help by planting milkweed. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa.

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