Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Save the Monarchs" by planting native Milkweed seeds

Hello Friends,
 As many of you know I am a Master Gardener (MG) with Chesterfield County, VA.  I love to talk about native plants.  I have developed a presentation about "Planting with Natives" that I have been privileged to present numerous times in the past few months.
I am also a Chester Garden Club member. The National Garden Clubs, Inc. (NGC) has an initiative they are seriously promoting.  They are asking clubs and communities to plant Monarch Wayside stations to save the monarch butterfly populations.
The Monarch butterfly population was reduced 90% a few years ago.  There is a scientific organization in Mexico that monitors during the winter months and they share their findings with their U.S. counterparts. After the severe decline, the NGC was contacted to promote a nationwide endeavor. (a migration of billions, now down to 51 million)
The Monarch lives on the milkweed plant.  In fact, it is the only plant it eats and uses to lay its eggs.  The tiny caterpillars eat the plant when they hatch.
The NGC has run out of seeds for this program.  They are hard to find. I have found a source for our club and MGs.  I must say the response has been great and many gardeners in central Virginia are setting up Monarch WayStations.
I have heard that many school children might like to participate in planting milkweed seeds. 
There is a two minute video from National Geographic describing this butterfly decline that is appropriate for school age children.  The link is  

Please consider planting milkweed seeds and helping to restore the Monarch Butterfly population.

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