Going Native

The summer of 2013 was a very bad year for the monarch butterfly. All summer long, I thought it was odd that I never saw a monarch. Reasons are not 100% clear but impacts include weather factors, loss of habitat in the US and Mexico, increased traffic on roads, and the extensive use of Roundup on genetically engineered crops. Farmers spray Roundup on these crops, killing all the weeds but not the crop.  The herbicide destroys milkweed upon which the monarch depends as a host plant.

This summer I am doing my part to go a little more native. In addition to nectar flowers, I’ve planted native milkweed. If the monarch finds my plants, I should have a monarch butterfly nursery. The plants will provide sustenance for the larvae.The blooms will provide nectar along with other nectar plants in the garden.

There are different varieties of milkweed but I planted butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) with its bright orange bloom. It should do well in hot, dry, sunny spot in the border. The hint of first blooms are appearing and I am checking my plants daily for signs of eggs.

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)What can we all do to help? While we hope for more favorable weather conditions, we can all plant several milkweed plants in our yards along with the nectar plants to sustain both the larvae and the adult monarch.

7 thoughts on “Going Native

  1. Great info! I knew the Monarchs were struggling but I didn’t know it was quite that bad. I will definitely do my small part to help in our yard!!!

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  2. At the botanic garden here in Norfolk, the whole Monarch/Asclepias issue is the theme of our summer program. I hope all the efforts are not too late. To your list of culprits you should also add the enthonal mandate, and the resulting mad rush to till every square inch of the Midwest for corn production.

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  3. Pingback: Pleurisy Root | Find Me A Cure

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