As you read this, imagine millions (yes millions!) of Monarch butterflies, almost the entire population of Monarchs, taking flight from Oyamel pine trees in the cold mountains around Mexico City, and flying….flying….flying up towards the United States.
These Monarchs left our gardens and fields last fall and flew to these very special mountain retreats and overwintered in Mexico. Now, they take their final flight to continue the circle of life.
As they lift off, this generation will point to Texas and with the fates willing, rain and sun over Texas will make the milkweed grow and grow. By the time the female Monarch butterflies reach Texas, the milkweed will hopefully be big enough for these ladies to lay their eggs…their last acts in this relay.
The monarch caterpillars will gobble up that milkweed and transform into beautiful butterflies and continue the journey north. By late June, we should see our first Monarch butterflies.
As the spring rains start up in the next week or so, this is a great time to plant your Monarch Butterfly garden and welcome in the royalty — by planting some great native wildflowers you can attract Monarch butterflies as well as other species that will appreciate the nectar plants.
Habitat loss across the migratory path has a profound effect on Monarch butterflies – they must have both milkweed (the host plant that the caterpillars feed on) and nectar plants (the tasty drink that feeds the adults). When we mow down a field or spray herbicides, we destroy that needed habitat (and do other damage).
We can all make a difference! I’ve prepared a number of Monarch Waystation seed kits for this spring planting and if you’d like one, just let me know via our Contact Us form. The kit has information about the different plants in the packet as well as information on Monarch butterflies.
It’s free – all you need is a sunny spot to plant your garden.