Fuel For Monarchs

When I first moved here over a decade ago, there was a patch of swamp milkweed growing wild along the driveway, at the edge of the creek. As a park was developed upstream, plans included shifting the flow of the creek and since then this patch has died out. Fortunately, I still have fourleaf milkweed growing wild in my woods, though this flowered in spring.

To augment my milkweeds, I grew an assortment from seed in 2017, and this year they were better than ever. All week one of my common milkweeds has been attracting an assortment of pollinators. Although I haven’t seen any monarchs on it yet, they are visitors to my garden, and I hope as the plants spread to offer more of an attraction for them. My swamp milkweed is seen here with a bee visitor looking as if it is pleased with the dining experience.

As my milkweed reach their annual peak, the timing is appropriate since just this week the monarch butterfly was declared endangered. A couple years ago I was fortunate to have the opportunity of visiting monarchs in Mexico where they winter after migrating south. It was an amazing spectacle, seeing literally thousands lift up in a bright orange cloud as they were warmed by the morning sun. I am doing my part to ensure they can continue to make their fantastic journey for many years to come.