Saturday, May 17, 2014

What's popping up in the Monarch Waystation?

Swamp milkweed
According to Journey North Monarch butterflies have been spotted as close to Massachusetts as New Jersey. Although my neighbor swears he saw one in a nearby field last weekend. Whether or not that's true I've been out daily checking my rapidly growing swamp milkweed for eggs. It's only about six inches tall, but tall enough for a monarch to find, if they really are here already.

While awaiting the monarchs I've been busy digging up little swamp milkweed seedlings sprouting up under their larger parent plants. I've potted them up and they'll be planted in new monarch gardens I'm building for friends and family. If you don't want your milkweed to sprout up in your garden where you don't want it just simply remove the seed pods before they open up.

Swamp milkweed seedlings "found" in the monarch waystation

Butterfly weed and New Jersey Tea seeds were also planted earlier in the spring and have been growing up in the greenhouse. They're getting big enough to plant. The butterfly weed is going up along the dry wall of my big rain garden.

Butterfly weed and New Jersey Tea seedlings

The Monarch Waystation last summer.
Everyday the Monarch Waystation is more and more green. Even though the only things flowering right now are violets I've let naturalize, before I know it it will be a riot of the pinks, oranges, whites and purples of swamp milkweed, butterfly weed, joe pye weed, echinacea, blanket flower, garden phlox, chocolate snakeroot, ox-eye sunflowers and yarrow. Last year I didn't see our first monarch until July, I sure hope this year they turn up sooner. My whole family is patiently awaiting eggs and caterpillars!

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