Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Butterfly Business

Monarch Madness is upon those of us who are trying to increase the population of Monarch butterflies here in the QC urban area. We do it because it helps the annual migration. We do it because, like gardening in general, it’s a satisfying hobby with tangible results.

Last year’s harsh winter took out some of my Whorled milkweed. The taller varieties seem okay. And, new this year, I’ve figured out that pruning the plants back early can produce more compact plants with additional tender leaves that momma Monarchs seem to look for. A sensible idea that needed reinforcing. Many thanks to: for supplying this helpful hint and a nudge to go for it. My “weed” patch looks so much better.

This year, I’ve rescued eggs and caterpillars to raise and release. So has my neighbor. It makes for pleasant days watching Monarchs flit around our gardens. The photo I’ve added has three Monarchs going about their business. Difficult to see, but they are there.

All this has inspired me to dig out my “Letters to a Butterfly.” This began last year with my milkweed expansion in an isolated area at Fairmount Library, Davenport. (They now have four different kinds growing.) It turned into a letter writing project for visitors to my booth for Art in the Garden held at the Quad-City Botanical Center, Rock Island.

Here are the letters I collected:

Go forth and flutter lovely Monarch.

Keep flapping your wings! You’ll get there!

Oh! The places you will go 😊

Watch out for cars.

Though it may seem hard, and there will be mistakes, you’ll get there!

Come back …

Lots of encouraging thoughts for those hot summer days in the garden.