There is a new program in the U.S. called Million Pollinator Gardens. The idea is to create one million garden habitats for butterflies, bees and any other insects which need flowers to pollinate.
Once you create your garden you can post that information online.
It’s interesting that the greater St. Louis area seems to be leading the way with 1450 gardens registered as of this posting.
You can register your pollinator garden at this site.
Please also don’t forget to add Host plants for all the butterflies.
Date: Tuesday – September 8th
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: THE HEIGHTS
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.
If you’re into raising Monarch butterflies, at some point you will need an enclosure that is big enough to hold them when they eclose or come out of their chrysalis.
Below is an option that I just found at Costco. You get two mesh laundry begs for $11.99. They are just the right size to hold several Monarchs before you release them.
If the chrysalis is on a leaf you can attach the leaf to the side of the bag with a safety pin and not damage anything.
Note – there is a small hole at the top and you could cover that with a piece of fabric. The fabric is good for holding Monarchs, but not fine enough to keep out tiny wasps if you are raising caterpillars.
Even if you are in an apartment or condo, if you have some sort of balcony you can use, then you can create your own little mini-park. Below is an article I found that you can download which will give you many ideas on how to create a nature preserve on your balcony.
I found this to be true with my Aunt Betty. She had a second story apartment in the city of St. Louis. I gave her some milkweed for her balcony and later that summer we found some Monarch larvae happily munching on it. Butterflies don’t care where the host plant is – as long as it’s outside and they can get to it.
My only tip would to be sure you put a plastic tray under your plants so that when you water them it won’t drip on your neighbor below.
Click here for the article.
Yesterday, April 22nd, I saw my first weathered Monarch butterfly arrive in St. Louis. It went right past my 50 assorted milkweed plants, but I’m hoping it doubles back and lays some eggs. I think it was a female.
I also learned today that St. Louis has started a “Milkweeds for Monarchs – The St. Louis Butterfly Project.”
St. Louis City is going to put in 50 Monarch gardens and is encouraging the community to plant 200 more.
While the effort is noble, they have a number of recommendations which need to be tempered with experience. They recommend a 3′ x 3′ area and suggest filling it with 9 different plants – 3 of which are invasive. A New England Aster can fill a 3′ x 3′ area by itself.
I have trouble moving my carefully pampered and wimpy indoor plants to the outdoor Mother Nature boot camp. My indoor plants have gotten plenty of water, fertilizer and not a whole lot of sunshine from my fluorescent bulbs. As a result they are a bit like that kid in the old comic books that needs to grow some muscles and toughen up.
FAN – Indoors, I still have a few plants which haven’t transitioned outside yet, so I have turned on a fan to get some air movement and hopefully strengthen and toughen up their stalks.
CART – I like to use a five level cart with wheels so that I can move plants in and out of the garage.
SHADE – Keep plants in the shade for the first week or so and then gradually introduce them into full sun. I bought this shade fabric at Harbor Freight for $27.00. I’m going to try it out and see how it does. I like that it has lots of grommets.
WIND – You can put up a board or wind-break to let you plants gets used to it.
WATER – I’ve read that it’s best to reduce the watering during this time, so I will only water once a day.
FERTILIZER – no extra fertilizer.
I’m doing my Ten Commandments of Butterfly Gardening for Greenscape Gardens this spring.
Date: April 5th
Time: 10:00 AM.