Butterfly Feeder


I decided to experiment and create a new butterfly feeder using a hummingbird feeder without the top. As you can see from the pictures, the Monarchs like the arrangement.

I tried two different mixes – one from Monarch Watch and another which was just Gatorade. I later added bee pollen to the Gatorade, but it doesn’t seem to be absolutely necessary.

The trick is to hang the feeder up high. I also put it over some milkweed that was in a pot to further encourage them to feed in this location. I noticed that one smaller feeder with the same mixture was ignored when it was placed down low on a table.



Filed under Misc, Monarchs

Kids Monarch Tagging Party


It looks like we will have plenty of Monarchs for a release event on this Sunday,

September 20th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Stop by anytime with the kids and grand-kids. They can tag a Monarch and send them off to Mexico. Great photo op, so bring your camera.

Please park at the school across the street.

9016 Robyn Road
Crestwood, MO 63126

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Raising Monarchs

There are many ways to successfully raise Monarchs, so I thought I’d collect the different ideas on this page.

Chrysalises don’t need to hang. This is something I learned from Mona Miller. The video below shows how you can put the chrysalises on their sides in a mesh bag and they will successfully emerge and climb up the side. Mesh laundry bags are great for this task. I’d put paper towels on the bottom.

Note – Mona has a great Facebook group called, Raising Butterflies and Moths for Conservation. It’s a great resource.






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2016 – Dates – Notes – Plants – ToDo

I’m making plans for the 2016 season. If you have a school that would like to start a butterfly garden, have them contact me.


  • Take out Phlox paniculata – none of them bloomed in 2015 and they were all diseased. It’s interesting that Mark/Deb and Jackie all had good luck with theirs.
  • Put in more Allium – bloomed for a long time and attracted lots of insects.
  • Turn front driveway garden into milkweed only.
  • Remove many of the New England Aster and replace with Purple Dome – 30″ tall and four feet wide – not pruned.
  • Thin out plants in the front – too many plants in front of the house.
  • Plant four large pots of Tropical Milkweed to use in butterfly tent.
  • Plant three buddleia and keep in pots.


Schools – Friends – Crestwood Beautification

Airport Elementary – Jo – 8249 Airport Rd, St. Louis, MO 63134

Early Childhood Education?


Josie – Crestwood





  • Buy more Purple Dome Aster


Filed under 2016

Pesticides in Organic Produce


I saw a recent posting in the “Raising Butterflies and Moths for Conservation” page on Facebook and a woman who was raising Black Swallowtails had run out of food and bought some “organic”parsley. Unfortunately, all the caterpillars died.

What I’ve learned is that organic produce can be sprayed with certain pesticides which will kill many caterpillars. BT – Bacillus thuringiensis – is a bacterium which is allowed with organic produce. It’s hard to say what was on the parsley, but BT may have been used.

What that now means is that you can’t count on buying food at any grocery store if you plan on feeding it to your caterpillars.

When you are buying new host plants for the garden, instead of buying one plant, buy two or three so that you will have enough host plants when the caterpillars arrive. Obviously, buy plants which don’t have pesticides in the soil.

NPR has a good article on the subject.


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Saving Swamp Milkweed

What I’ve found with Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, in St. Louis MO is that it only lives for about three years, sometimes only two years in a typical home garden setting. While it prefers a wet-rain garden setting, all of my beds are raised for drainage and not ideal for this species.

One swamp milkweed that did spectacular last year, this year it now looks poorly and possibly dying. From my past experience I know that this plant will probably not make it next year. Here are a couple of pictures of the milkweed.



swamp-milkweed-dying-02What I’ve had success with in the past is cutting in back to six inches, digging up the root ball and separating it into individual plants. I will then keep them in pots for a month or two and make sure they are always moist. I then will plant it back in the garden.




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Tuesday – Butterfly Gardening Program


Date: Tuesday – September 8th

Time: 7 p.m.

8001 Dale Avenue
Richmond Heights, MO 63117

This is a program I am doing for the Richmond Heights garden club, but they are opening it up to the public.


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