As you know from Terri and Minnie’s post last spring, we started work on a butterfly nursery specifically designed to attract and nurture monarchs. Led by Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, and the Native Plant Society, and supported as one of their official demonstration garden projects, we have made terrific progress. We’ll be ready to welcome monarchs and other springtime visitors. Gardens that are good for butterflies are also good for other pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds.
When planning a project such as this, the team had to consider which plants and flowers provide the optimum healthy smorgasbord, feeding caterpillars, butterflies and their friends from spring through fall. So far, we have planted Green milkweed, Tropical milkweed, plus seeds of two native milkweeds (Antelope horn and Hierba de Zizotes), Gayfeather, Purple coneflower, Obedient plant, Autumn sage, native Lantana, Blue mistflower, Tall aster, Fall aster, Tall goldenrod, Maximillian sunflower, Esperanza, Rock rose, Big red sage, and a Mexican plum tree. More to come, including a “Bee Happy” wildflower mix with lots of plants for pollinators – Frostweed, Verbena, Black-eyed Susan, Winecup, American basket flower, Lemon mint, Golden-wave, Foxglove, and many more. Thanks to all who donated plants and seeds!
We also had to ensure that there was sufficient shelter to protect the eggs and chrysalis (cocoons) from predators. Mud puddles and the marshy areas around the pond provide water and salts. Since butterflies cannot regulate their own body temperatures, we needed a sunny spot so they can bask in the sun when they need to. And finally, we needed to make sure the area was and will be free of pesticides or herbicides. Our monarch waystation and butterfly nursery will be organic!
Now that we have plants in place, we are thankful the water catchment project team has made such good progress. We’ll soon have water piped down to the garden and should be all set for the Texas spring and summer.
After a long hard day of digging, and planting, the team took time out for a group photo op. (Emily did great as our visiting paparazzi. We even made the local paper!)