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.
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.