I was enjoying a warm Tuesday afternoon. Ogling the size of my birdhouse gourds and fretting over the lack of flowers near the pumpkin patch when something orange caught my eye. A monarch butterfly soared over the fence and into my little garden. It darted past the cosmos, over the Indian blanket flowers, lingered around the Queen Anne's lace, past the native mallow and buckwheat and then . . . over the other fence and into my neighbor's yard.
What the heck? I've planted four - no five - patches of milkweed this year. Granted, the plants in two of those patches are pretty small. Meager pickings but still!? I was sure that my neighbor didn't have much more to offer. Or her neighbor.
If you have been reading this blog for the past six months or following me on Twitter, you've read about the plummet in monarch butterfly population. You've read my pleas to plant milkweed. You have learned how I visited a 4H group and girl scout troop, sharing milkweed seeds and teaching them how to grow the plants from seed.
Was it all for naught, I wondered. Am I naive to think that little old me can make a difference? That the plant I grow here, in my half acre surrounded by suburbia, can have an impact on floundering wildlife populations? How in the heck would a monarch butterfly even find my lowly clusters of milkweed?
At 7pm that evening, though, my questions were answered.
My milkweed patch was not for nothing. After a long day of searching, a monarch butterfly found one of my clusters.
She sipped the nectar.
She laid some eggs!! (Ignore the photobombing ladybug. She is just getting rid of some aphids.)
Fall is the ideal time in many places to grow milkweed from seed. If you want to be part of something big, if you want to help save an iconic, breathtakingly beautiful species, if you want to make a difference, plant some milkweed!
To learn more about how to help monarch butterflies or where to get milkweed native to your area, visit Monarch Watch and Bring Back the Monarchs.
This post is part of the Homestead Barn Hop, Backyard Farming Connection, Maple Hill Hop, Green Thumb Thursday and Tuesday Garden Party.