May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
Almost a year ago, I was wildlife gardening in earnest. Everything I did was to help build a habitat for critters, especially for butterflies. Not just for them to visit, but for them to build a home. And the habitat has also become home now to birds, insects, frogs, snakes, toads and so many others.
The robins have built their home for a second year, the rabbits are in love with our organic clover and the wrens are back to nest. Our first nesting bluebird family burst the seams to their home, and we had to buy them another one. They just came back to find their new home, and they are quickly building another nest. Everyday we have interesting critter encounters. It is pure delight.
But I am still waiting for the butterflies. Red Admirals spent quite a bit of time here this spring, and a couple of swallowtails floated through the garden, but none have stayed. Of course their habitat is still being built with just the right plants. But the monarchs, have a home just waiting for them.
The common milkweed that just showed up in the garden has grown into a nice couple of clumps since last year. I am smitten with the flowers of this so-called common plant. Added to the meadow and back garden is swamp milkweed. There is echinacea, butterfly weed near the milkweed and lots of asters for late summer/fall nectar. Scattered throughout the garden and meadow is phlox, bee balm, joe pye, yarrow, goldenrod, black-eyed susans and liatris. These are some of the most desirable flowers for monarchs.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have created a nectar heaven for many butterflies, but especially monarchs. And while I know soon they will be all over the garden drinking their fill, I am hopeful they will decide that my garden is just the perfect spot to entrust to their precious eggs.
So where are they? Our monarchs don’t always show up until late spring/summer. Warm days with nectar plants abundant and larval plants ready for caterpillars and cocoons. And when did the first monarch enter the garden? This past weekend. Now we just have to hope there will be more monarchs laying eggs on the milkweed. I will know when I see the lovely yellow, black and white caterpillars chomping on the leaves.
Then I will be like a child searching the garden and meadow for cocoons. Patiently waiting to watch emerging butterflies cover the meadow flowers to sip nectar, and gain strength to start the cycle all over again until fall when we bid them farewell for another year.
It is a lovely dream isn’t it? One that is easily made into reality with just the right native plants. Only a few are needed. Some sort of milkweed and a delicious nectar plant. I’m ready for the monarchs, are you?
If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown
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