Posts Tagged: monarchs
The Monarchs are on the move. In the late summer and early fall, the Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) head for the California coastline or central Mexico...
A Monarch nectaring on a butterfly bush. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A Monarch soars, spreading its wings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A Monarch showing its brilliant colors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A Monarch, outlined against a blue sky, sips nectar from a butterfly bush. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A passion for butterflies coupled with a yearning to protect their habitat is what drives 98-year-old Louise Hallberg, founder of the nine-acre...
Pipeline swallowtail on Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Pipeline swallowtail caterpillar on Dutchman's pipeline. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Butterfly crossing in front of the Hallberg home. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The paths are fun to explore. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A metallic reminder that this is a butterfly garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"Generally, butterflies are brightly colored on the top side and have dull colors on the underside. The bright colors are used to attract a mate and...
A monarch, Danaus plexippus, forages on a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Side view of a monarch, Danaus plexippus,on a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
I spent some of the last weekend in lovely Santa Cruz. We have a son attending the UC there, so periodically my husband and I get to zip over the mountain for a kid fix. This past weekend, after a fun lunch and a pantry-stocking trip through Trader Joes, our son suggested a trip to Natural Bridges State Park to see the monarch butterflies that are overwintering there. It was troubling to see such a small number of butterflies. The ranger told us that though there were only around ten thousand, that number is actually up from last year. Years ago, however, the numbers were in the hundreds of thousands range. As bad as it is here, the East Coast migration is in worse shape. The ranger said this is due to heavy planting of soybeans and corn that are Round-Up ready. That means the seeds are modified to be resistant to the active ingredient in Round-Up called glyphosate. Since the crops are resistant to glyphosate, more is being sprayed thus killing more of the butterflies host plant - milkweed. I know it is a small step but I am planting milkweed in my garden, lots of it. I had such fun this summer and early fall seeing Gulf Fritillaries on my passion vine. Maybe next year I will have monarchs in the yard as well. If you feel as motivated to plant for monarchs - and they really need our help - check out Annie's Annuals for two milkweeds (Asclepias curassavica and Asclepias curassavica 'Silk Gold') that are available now. You can also look up Monarch Watch for ideas on helping the monarchs survive.
Asclepias curassavica growing happily. (Photo by Teresa Lavell)