Finding Seeds

I was recently asked where I found my seeds for the different plants I grow.

The best place to get seeds is your own garden. Save them in paper bags and label them.I like to let them dry on the plant and then put them in a paper bag. If you save your own seeds, then you don’t have to buy them.

The 2nd best place will be MY garden.I save lots of seeds every year in St. Louis. You are welcome to come over and get seeds in the fall.

The 3rd best place for seeds is Google. Do a search with the scientific name and you will find numerous seed resources. Many times I will visit the Missouri Botanical Garden and find a new plant I want to try. Take a picture of the plant and its name and then there’s a good chance you can find it online.

Another option are some of the Facebook online groups. Sometimes, many of the people are willing to share seeds for the price of a SASE.

Here’s a list of plants I have bought in the past and where I may have bought them. https://butterflygardening.wordpress.com/plants/

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Monarch from Egg to Butterfly

Six Weeks from Egg to Butterfly

June 2nd in St. Louis. as I was weeding the gardens, I found two newly emerged Monarchs. The first eggs I saw this year were around April 21st. Doing the math, it turns out that these Monarchs took six weeks to go from egg to Monarch butterfly. The extra long time period probably has to do with the cooler temperatures and extra spring rain.

If you are weeding in the garden, take some time and see if you can notice these newly emerged Monarchs.

This also emphasizes the importance of having early spring milkweed. My favorite is Ascelpias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed.

Note – June 6th – Monarch is flying around the garden. I’m not sure if it is MY monarch, but it’s nice to see.

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Fixing Soil with Amendments

Mycorrhizae
101010-Osmocote-Milo-Rosetone

This one particular garden area has been a problem for the last 3 or 4 years. Plants would dies for no particular reason, although some plants seem to not be bothered.

In the picture of poppies above, I have seeded much too heavily and the plants look terrible. I’m testing different type of amendments to see which might help the poppies.

Mycorrhizae is on the top and then left to right is is 10-10-10, Osmocote, Milorganite and Espoma Rosetone.

I added amendments on May 27th. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will see what difference each of them makes.

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Drilling Holes for Plants

One of the easiest ways I have found to create holes for plants is to use a battery powered drill with an auger.

I have tried two sizes, a 1.75″ diameter with a short shaft and a 2.5″ diameter with a two foot shaft. The smaller shaft works well if you are sitting down, but does not leave a clean hole. You need to use one hand to clean it out before putting in the plant. The advantage is that the hole is smaller. The drill does have a tendency to get dirty as a result of having a shaft which is so short.

The 2.5″ diameter auger makes a clean hole, but the hole is larger. This is my favorite since it is easier to make a clean hole and easy to just throw in the plant and fill it in.

I have had good luck using an auger in good soil and bad. The auger will break up the soil into small pieces and will make it easy to fill in when the plant is in the hole.

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Monarch News

The Monarch eggs have hatched and it’s fun to watch the caterpillars chew up the Swamp Milkweed.

Below is a fun video on the Monarchs as they hibernate in Mexico.

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South Facing Basement Wall

If you have a basement with a south facing wall, then you are in luck. I have a couple of different plants that wouldn’t live if they were just out in the garden alone, but with the extra heat, they can over-winter and come back every year with no work on your part.

Here are a couple of plants which have come back reliably for the last five years.

Black-Blue Salvia – hummingbird favorite
Lantana – Miss Huff or Star Landing
Note – May 1st and they are just showing

For schools, try and use a south wall for the garden and put the more tender plants up close to the wall.

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School Plants

Here is a list of butterfly plants I am adding to some of my school gardens.

Milkweed

  • Swamp milkweed – Ascelpias incarnata – note – it’s probably best to plant seeds in the fall. Mark their location.
  • Butterfly Weed – Asclepias tuberosa – plant seeds in place in the fall. Mark their location.
  • Tropical milkweed – this will bloom all summer long.

Host Plants

  • Bronze Fennel – perennial for Black Swallowtail (BST)
  • Golden Alexander – perennial for Black Swallowtail (BST) – looks great in May.
  • Dill/Parsley – perennial for Black Swallowtail (BST)
  • Kale – host for Cabbage White
  • Pussytoes – host for Painted Ladies

Annuals

  • Purple Globe amaranth – covers a large area.
  • Lantana – large type to cover a big area – needs lots of sun.
  • Zinnia angustifolia – you can also just plant the seeds as they germinate in four days.

Perennials

  • Allium – large – blooms in May
  • Allium small – blooms June
  • Aster – smaller versions
  • Bee Balm
  • Calamint – this is not invasive and blooms most of the summer.
  • Coreopsis
  • Echinacea purpurea
  • Liatris
  • Maltese Cross
  • Nepeta – Walkers Low
  • Phlox
  • Veronica
  • Purple Salvia
  • Red Salvia – reseeds inself
  • Rudbeckia
  • Sedum – blooms in the fall, but may get large and floppy
  • Slender Mountain Mint

Also Bring:

  • Soil to fill-in.
  • Fertilizer – organic – spread on after planting.
  • Spades for kids.
  • Gloves
  • Stand tools in cart

Notes

  1. Make sure the water is on.
  2. Since most schools are closed in the summer, most of the plantings are mainly for spring and fall blooms.
  3. Encourage the sponsor to find a summer helper to weed and water during the summer.
  4. Use small containers so kids only have to dig small holes.

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