I don’t know if there’s more milkweed around the Old Mission Peninsula, or if I’m just more aware of it, now that I know how important it is for the Monarch Butterflies.
But as I drive around the Peninsula, it seems like the milkweed is everywhere, which is a good thing for all those Monarchs we see in the warmer months. I interviewed OMPer Connie Sargent a few years ago, and she helps to nurture the tiny eggs into butterflies each year.
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She says there’s a lot we can do to help those beautiful creatures, including avoiding cutting it in your yard and flowerbeds. I’m going to spend some time next year on my gardens and yard, so I’ll be sure to plant some milkweed, along with the plants listed in the Tips section below the photos.
I took these photos of some of the milkweed around the Peninsula last week. The field is next to John Wunsch and Laura Wigfield’s house on Center Road. I’ll have to ask them if they’ve scattered milkweed seeds in there, or if they just came up naturally. The field across from their house is also full of milkweed.
The other photo is out by the lighthouse, where milkweed is prominent along the road on that open stretch by West Bay.
A Few Tips to Help the Monarch Butterflies…
Nurture the milkweed. Monarch caterpillars feed solely on milkweed, so avoid cutting it in your yard and flowerbeds. In fact, Connie plants milkweed seeds to ensure that the eggs and caterpillars have plenty of leaves on which to feed and grow. “I will always have a section of my garden for milkweed,” she says. If everyone grew milkweed around their house, especially in zones along the monarch’s flight to Mexico, it would go a long way to saving these beautiful butterflies.
Ditch the nets. While sending the kids out with a butterfly net might sound nostalgic, it’s disastrous for the butterflies. Avoid catching butterflies with nets. Instead, learn more about monarch butterflies with your kids and spend time exploring for them in the wild.
Create a butterfly sanctuary. Plant flowers around your house that butterflies love, including purple and yellow cone flowers, sunflowers, marigolds, poppies, cosmos, salvias, asters, coreopsis, daisies, verbenas, zinnias and butterfly bushes (buddleia).
Avoid harsh pesticides. While most of us don’t consider the beautiful monarch butterflies pests, they are, in fact, insects, which means they will die if sprayed with insecticides. Avoid spraying your yard, and learn more about organic gardening. Here‘s a good place to start.
Learn more. Check out organizations devoted to researching and saving monarch butterflies. Save Our Monarchs and Monarch Watch are two such groups.