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Monarch Butterflies

by Lorraine on June 16, 2010

As spring has traversed into summer and the days alternate between being gray and overcast to sometimes hot, I have noticed that butterflies are now visiting the garden.

I don’t know very much about them, other than I can identify a Swallowtail or a Fiery Skipper and lately there have been a few Monarchs drifting along the flowers and drinking nectar.   They look so delicate as they flit among the plants and sometimes briefly alighting upon one of them to take rest a bit, waving their wings slowing back and forth.

Many of my plants continue to bloom and they have been drawn to the Coyote Mint that borders the walkway (Monardella villosa), the sages and the Monkey Flowers.   The later are just about done blooming after having put on spectacular display this year and soon will become dormant as the weather heats up.

The Theodore Payne Foundation’s recent newsletter talks about Monarch butterflies and their long migration to coastal California or Mexico during the cold winter months.  And of course, their habitat is being threatened in Mexico due to the destruction of forests that they rely upon for survival.

They mainly feed exclusively on Milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.) if they are available but obviously will feed on other plants as well, such as the ones I have in my garden.   But when it comes to laying their eggs, they will only use the Milkweed, which means if you have one or two in your garden,  you are helping to perpetuate the species.

Which is good.   We all need butterflies in our lives…..

But as I said, I certainly don’t know anything about butterflies other than I love seeing them in my garden and I hope that the Monarch will be able to survive indefinitely and if all it takes is putting in some Milkweeds in our gardens, I’m all for that…

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