Not a day goes by that we don’t hear and/or see “New and Improved.” Well, now it is my turn: What a difference a year makes. We have made a lot of improvements to our Monarch Butterfly Garden.
Some of the changes/improvements we must credit to God, time, and “Mother Nature” as time to grow has filled out a lot of plants. We have added several “Milkweed” plants; having planted over one hundred (100) plants and/or seed. There are four (4) varieties: Tropical/Butterfly Milkweed, Yellow Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, and Showy Milkweed. Over fifty-six(56) are in a full growth posture. That takes care of the “breeding and growth of the caterpillar.
We have also planted over one hundred fifty (150+) seedlings, dry roots, bulbs, and rooted pollinator plants. We have taken care to insure that there are varied blooming times and colors. Of course, today one my think we only like purple, but soon to come are yellows, reds, oranges and others. Planted are but not limited to Butterfly Bush, Sedum, Yarrow, Snap Dragon, Phlox, Pentas, Lantana, Hibiscus, Blazing Star, Lupines, Red Hot Poker, Astilbe, Bleeding Heart, Aster(Daisy), Begonia, Sunflower, Bee Balm, Red Cardinal(Lobelia), Lavender, Blue Danube(Aster), Amaryllis, Daffodil, Zagreb Coreopsis, and probably a few that have slipped my mind.
Several of the plants, mostly the one in “Full Sun” have taken off and over. Last season our “Butterfly Bushes” were small, I even considered that they might be dwarfs, of a modest twenty-four inches (24″) tall and twenty-four inches (24″) wide; this year we have two(2) that have overachieved. Specifically one of them is seven feet (7′) tall and probably as wide. Several of the “Butterfly Milkweed” have grown to over three feet (3′) in height and are filling out quite bushy. The “Swamp Milkweed” are growing amazingly filling out; however, they have yet to bloom. Our Blazing Stars are growing well; they are gaining height and blooming and our hope is that they will seed and fill their area. One of the Yarrow has reached 3′ with countless blossoms of a variety of colors and I’ve assisted it with a “tomato stake” to corral it and help hold it upright.
Success is subjective. I am satisfied that we are heading in the right direction. We have seen a few butterflies, add the benefit that we have also observed many “Bumble Bees”, “Honey Bees”, and even a few “Humming Birds.” This confirms that the “Pollinators (plants)” are attracting.
We have released to date twenty-six(26) Monarch Butterflies. Normally, these little ones just fly off or maybe eat a bit then off in flight. Sunday, we released six(6) and two(2), conveniently one(1) male and one(1) female, hung around the Garden all afternoon and right up to sunset. I watched the male fly into the shelter of the limbs and leaves of one of our trees, possibly to find lodging for the night. They did hang around some on Monday.