Rhonda Hayes

Rhonda Hayes is a garden writer, photographer and blogger. She also volunteers as a Hennepin County Master Gardener. Rhonda chronicles her gardening adventures and advice at her award-winning blog, The Garden Buzz. She is a frequent contributor to Northern Gardener magazine and the Star Tribune Home + Garden section. At Your Voices, she writes about life around the city lakes, occasionally veering off the garden path with essays on the silly and serious issues of the day.

Certify Your Yard as a Monarch Waystation

Posted by: Rhonda Hayes Updated: September 8, 2013 - 9:37 AM
 
I don't usually repeat content from my gardneing blog, The Garden Buzz, but it seems timely and appropriate as they prepare for their yearly migration.
 
A lot of folks would say I'm certifiable. And they're right! 
You may be too. 
I just filled out the online application for certifying my yard as a Monarch Waystation. The last stones in the patio are being laid as we speak but it's not too soon to designate my beautiful new landscape as a waystation. Think bed and breakfast for butterflies.
A recent visitor to my garden

A recent visitor to my garden

 
 
I made sure to include numerous nectar plants and a generous amount of host plant Aslcepias tuberosa (butterfly weed) in my new garden for the exact purpose of helping the Monarch butterfly survive in spite of extreme weather, habitat destruction and pesticide threats.
 
Pictured here, Asclepias syriaca. There's a suitable milkweed for every garden.

Pictured here, Asclepias syriaca. There's a suitable milkweed for every garden.

 
Gardeners everywhere have noticed the low numbers of monarchs visiting our gardens this time of year when once they were present in great numbers while on their arduous migration. More than just a tough year, the monarch population is down 80% by some estimates.
Certifying your yard doesn't require a huge investment, You can purchase a waystation seed kit from Monarch Watch (the University of Kansas program that promotes and oversees monarch research and conservation) or you can buy plants at your local garden centers to fulfill the requirements necessary for certification.
 
If you're like me, my past two gardens have qualified on the spot due to my interest and action in making sure they were butterfly-friendly. Perhaps your garden is a monarch waystation already. Officially certifying your garden costs $16, however the money is put to good use at Monarch Watch.
 
Educate passersby to the plight of the monarch and what they can do to help.

Educate passersby to the plight of the monarch and what they can do to help.

 

In addition you can purchase a small sign to place in your garden that lets other people know of your good intentions while educating them to the plight of the monarch and what can be done to save this fascinating and gorgeous creature. Who knows? Maybe you'll start a movement in your neighborhood or town. Monarch waystations can be contagious. 

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