Last fall (2018) was such an amazing and educational adventure on the farm that my kids still talk about today. We were in awe when we learned that a weed (honeyvine milkweed) I was going to pull up out of my flower bed would bring such excitement. After researching and learning that the honeyvine was a milkweed it all made sense why beautiful caterpillars were living and munching on it. Monarch butterflies are one of the world’s most interesting insect to a lot of people including myself.
Fast-forward to spring 2019 and we see many swallowtail butterflies flying around the farm and my kids keep asking “are they your butterflies, mommy?” I always have to reply “no.” Since last November have been thinking of ways to bring the monarchs back to the farm.
To entice the monarchs we planted “monarch rescue mix” wild flower seeds (which include purple coneflowers, aster milkweed, Indian blanket and etc.), made a small (6x6x) flower garden in hopes of their great and rewarding return. If they do, we will definitely have a repeat of the prior year. We will order tags (order here https://www.monarchwatch.org/) and tag as many as we can. If the butterfly garden is a success then will definitely make it bigger and make a few more around the farm to help their numbers grow.
Also, I’m hoping this year we will get our farm’s butterfly garden(s) certified as a monarch waystation habitat (https://www.monarchwatch.org/) and certified monarch garden (www.naba.org). These certifications will allow visitor to know that our farm takes pride in not using pesticides and we always respect nature as it comes.
If it becomes a yearly habit, then our farm will start having a butterfly release day each year. How fun and exciting would that be?