PHOTO: Thanks to David Kreuger for the page header image.
PHOTO: Lynn Rosenblatt for the Waystation Garden closeup.
Waystation Gardens, created at schools and libraries are the perfect incentive to teach children about the joys of a planting flourishing nectar garden for all insects to enjoy and the importance of preserving the milkweed habit.
Now it’s YOUR turn to play host to the monarchs. Butterfly gardens bring not only monarchs, but a large variety of other beautiful butterflies to your own back yard…a FEAST for the Monarchs and their friends! Our companion book, MONARCH MAGIC! shows you the specific flowers needed to create a magnificent milkweed and floral garden. Follow the step-by-step directions for transplanting milkweed and finding mail-order sites for ordering milkweed seeds and flower mixes from seed.
This 30-minute video from Wisconsin Public Radio featuring Gae Bergmann, Master Gardener at the Dodge County Master Gardener Association, discusses how to attract monarch butterflies by planting milkweed. Bergmann explains the life stages of the butterflies and provides information for creating a habitat that attracts the insects. Explore the full archive of WPT’s University Place lectures online at http://wpt.org/universityplace
The process begins by soaking the milkweed seeds in water on paper towels. Keep them moist every day and cover with plastic wrap.
An alternative starter mix is PERLITE, obtained from nurseries as shown here – this can create a mini-greenhouse effect as the seeds bask in the afternoon sun for about a week. Perlite is a gentle medium that allows the 2-inch baby seedling roots to be easily removed with tweezers as you replant them in starter seed mix….
Once placed in the starter mix the seedlings become stronger.
Cover them at night to keep the moisture in, but make certain they are exposed to lots of sunlight and fresh air throughout the day. TRANSFER to individual seed containers as the last step – fill the segments with starter soil and gently place the little plants into the mixture – they can remain here until they are planted outside when the weather is warm and free from frost.
Using PERLITE as the second medium of growth was simply an option – It was chosen as an experiment for gently moving the baby seedlings, and it worked. Going straight to the starter soil (skip the perlite) avoids transplanting twice. HAPPY GROWING!!
Top garden flowers for Monarch Butterflies.
This lovely photo comes to us from a guest post by Lenora Larson to the blog of the Powell Gardens, Kansas City, MO. This prestigious botanical garden has been monitoring Buddleia for the past 18 years. Visit the Powell Gardens botanical garden website at https://powellgardens.org/.
Native flowering plants are important and will flourish locally in your area. They will provide butterflies and bees with nectar for needed nourishment.
Plant COLORFUL FLOWERS in a SUNNY SPOT!! Butterflies love to eat in sunny gardens…yellow, red, orange, pink and purple flowers create a big attraction for butterflies – especially flat flower heads that transform into a large color display!
AND… No insecticides!
This image of Lady Bird Johnson shows her standing in a field of wildflowers alongside a Texas state highway. The first lady inspired the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, which set in motion a number of roadside-related initiatives that endure to this day.
PHOTO: Lynn Rosenblatt
Monarch Butterflies need our help! Join local efforts to plant milkweed in schoolyards, libraries, and backyards across the USA.
These resources will get you started.