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Monarchs on the Milkweed

Monarchs on the Milkweed

by Linda Stoutenburgh on September 06, 2019


Good news! Seven Monarch butterfly caterpillars have been seen on the butterfly milkweed during the last week of August! Check out this picture of one of them on our Facebook page.

Five years ago, LUMC became a butterfly way station. A small area behind the church building next to the education building was created for a milkweed garden bed outlined with pressure treated timbers. Common milkweed was planted in that space.

On the Wirt Street side, a flower garden was created at the same time which included some perennial and annual plants that monarch butterflies are attracted to. There are also some other perennial plants around the church building such as monarda and coneflowers. A Girl Scout Troop which meets at LUMC tends the Wirt Street garden.

The milkweed grew for several years but no monarch caterpillars were seen and no evidence of their presence -- no munched on leaves! The milkweed grew very well almost 8 feet tall but it wasn't very attractive and the plants fell over. So after the third year, I dug out the roots of the common milkweed. It took me all of the growing season of 2018 to do so as common milkweed is invasive.

This spring I replaced the common milkweed with "butterfly milkweed" which I purchased from Watermark Woods, a native plant nursery in Hamilton, VA. "Butterfly Milkweed" is a much smaller plant with a showy orange bloom.

If you are interested in helping to maintaining LUMC plantings and weeding, contact me!
Boonie Henry, LUMC Diggin' Disciples Chair

Tags: monarchs, milkweed

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