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Be a Butterfly Savior — Garden for the Monarchs

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My Save The Monarch Project: We Have Caterpillars….

Yesterday I was walking in the yard, filling the bird feeders and just taking a look at everything. Every morning I do what we call “a spin” with a cup of coffee in my hand and look at the status of things. I was looking at the garden square that I have made the “butterfly sanctuary” and lo and behold! Monarch caterpillars on the milkweed!

There were three of them visible to me.

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Monarch butterfly caterpillar on tropical milkweed plant. Eileen Anglin. http://www.whiterosepath.com

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Monarch butterfly caterpillar on tropical milkweed plant. Eileen Anglin. http://www.whiterosepath.com

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My Butterfly Sanctuary Garden Square in The Gardens of 333

A few hours afterwards, I came back out to take a look and one was missing, and another one crawling away from the plant. I can tell I am going to be an anxious butterfly mom. I put it back on the milkweed. I also saw that one of the plants they were munching on was already stripped bare.

We are going to need more milkweed. I definitely don’t have enough, and the thought of them running out of food will be hard on me.

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Milkweed Stripped Bare by Monarch larvae Within Hours

So, I came inside to get more information on what to do.

Here are some websites with useful information on their behaviors, what to do and what not to do, (ahem..hello me) such as leaving them alone. They need to hide and be still while going through their life cycle, and also, spiders such as the little guys we affectionately call “Jumpieswill get to them. We have a lot of those and I need to be at peace with that as that is Nature’s way.

But I also looked to see where I can get milkweed cuttings FAST. I definitely don’t have enough. Let’s hope they get here and I can establish them fast enough for these hungry babies growing up in The Gardens of 333.

Seeds and Cuttings at low cost:

http://www.livemonarch.com

Learn About Monarchs:

http://www.learnaboutmonarchs.com/monarchbutterflyfaqs.html

Monarch FAQ:

http://www.mymonarchguide.com

My “Save the Monarchs” Butterfly Backyard Project

I was driving around the beautiful New Jersey Shore when I heard on National Public Radio that the Monarch butterfly populations were in serious decline. The reason? What else? Pesticides, GMO’s and land development! One more things of beauty in the ecosystem that is collapsing due to humans acting unconsciously.

When I got home, I read the in depth articles below.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/03/20/f-monarch-butterfly.html

Monarch Butterflies Numbers Down Again Source: Science Daily

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/03/130318-monarch-butterflies-animals-science-environment-nation/

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/home_blog/2011/01/milkweed-for-butterflies.html

I suggest you read them, but sufficed to say, milkweed is the plant the monarch larvae feed on and it’s disappearing. One way we can help them is to plant milkweed in our own gardens and landscapes. You know me, I go on a crusade. I’m the Joan of Arc of Nature….so that is exactly what I’m going to do. And I’ll blog my experience for you.

Won’t you join me?  I invite you to join my “Save the Monarchs” Butterfly Backyard Project and blog about it too. Be sure to post your links in my comments section and let’s do this!

This is where I purchased the seeds.
http://www.butterflyencounters.com/

The company was mentioned in the article I read. The website has a lot of useful information and detailed descriptions of the different milkweed plants.

Important Precaution: One thing I wasn’t aware of was milkweed has a toxic substance to it’s sap, which protects the butterfly that eats it, so you have to be careful handling it and seek medical attention if ingested or if it gets into your eyes. Read more about the precautions on the Butterfly Encounters website.

So, where am I at with my little project right now? My order came quickly and I have planted the seeds in seed starting flats outside.

 

 

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