At this time of year, even if you didn’t have covid fever (I mean CABIN) fever, you might be itching for monarch season to start. I certainly am. Well, my friend, it is already in full swing in Texas, and it won’t be long until the rest of us are scouring our yards and neighbourhoods for our favourite tiny eggs and signs of chewing.
The excitement starts when those first native milkweeds peak through the soil . Do you have two or three varieties in your garden? If not, just start some tropical milkweed seeds now, or pick up some milkweed at a native plant nursery, if you are allowed out of the house, and if the nursery is open. The monarchs will avail themselves of the tropical, while your native milkweed catches up. Just be sure to cut down the tropical milkweed in the Fall.
If by any chance you didn’t bleach all your habitats at the end of last season, doing it now will catapult you into the monarch spirit. Will this be the year you share your excitement with local scout groups, libraries, schools, and seniors clubs? (Write to me at monarchcrusader.com for my free slide show with script) Will you lobby your local government for more butterfly gardens, less pesticide, and reduced mowing? Will you bring every young person you know into the fold? Because you know as well as I do, that people will protect only what they love.
Is it a challenge for you to find monarchs in your area? If so, I encourage you to raise the ones you see the most. For me in Toronto, Canada, it’s American Ladies (Pearly Everlasting) and Black Swallowtails (dill, fennel, parsley) One great thing about the American Ladies is that they arrive so early.
We will get to the other side of our isolation, but until then, thank goodness for caterpillars!