I love garden magazines. You know the ones that cost $8.99 at the checkout and make your eyes tear up at the perfectly arranged pots and plants? Yes, those. A few years back I came across an article about Monarch butterflies. Love them. The article went on to talk about the urban sprawl and their primary source of larva food (milkweed) being destroyed and becoming less abundant. The solution was to build a “Monarch Waystation” in your yard. Ok, I will.
Over the last few years I have collected the plants needed to create this garden and have it in the perfect location. Every year I would look and would not see any caterpillars. This made me sad that I wasn’t helping but I figured my garden was young so maybe next year. Then the green monster reared its head.
Last year I went to a meeting at a house. I walked to the back and out her back doors was THE MOST beautiful garden I have every seen at a private residence. It was amazing. She had done it herself so I was very impressed as I know how much work it takes to maintain even the garden I have. Even her vegetable garden was straight out of the Martha Stewart magazine with raised beds with perfect pathways and a nice fencing that went all around. Ok, fine. That’s all nice. Then I looked on her kitchen counter and I saw a butterfly kit. You know the ones you can get that most people think are Monarch butterfly kits but most likely you got Painted Ladies. Oh, you think you got Monarchs? Unlikely. Ok, where was I …. So I thought “Look how cute she has one of those painted lady kits.” Then she said “Oh, and look at my MONARCH CATERPILLARS that I got from my garden yesterday. Wait, WHAT? It’s like March and didn’t I just shovel my driveway yesterday? How can this be? I left defeated, deflated, and down right green with envy.
I then went home to cry research what the French marigolds is going on out there in my garden.
Then it happened. Eggs. Caterpillars. Butterflies.
This year I read this story so I have been extra vigilant about my gardening efforts. I went and purchased 3 more milkweeds which give me a total of 9 plants. Nine plants to let Monarchs lay their eggs and add to the magic of life. Except this year I have cotton tails ruining my vision. This year the humping rabbits have spawned the dumbest crop ever. These little dumb fluffs are munching on things that they have not touched in the past. Most importantly my milkweed. Hey fluff butts! Eat the hosta, go for the phlox but leave my milkweed alone will ya? No, no we won’t they said. I offered them coyote urine. It rained. I then gave them some ground up cousins to think about. Again rain. I asked my friends on twitter if I gave them a BB gun if I could claim self defense but I was sort of told that wasn’t very “Martha.” Fine.
Fences and netting it is. For now.