Saturday, March 23, 2013

Butterfly Time Again

We first posted information on the Monarch Watch Organization in some of the early blogs in the spring of 2011.  As the monarch population has had a very rough couple of years, it is timely to remind folks of that excellent organization and the fact that the Butterfly Garden is a registered Monarch Waystation # 1905... (our sign was taken down from the old fence and is in the storage shed) 

You can take a look at the description of the Matzke Park Garden on the Monarch Watch website by clicking HERE   It  also contains a few of the early pictures.

At the time it was registered, the garden had the requisite types and numbers of plants.  It might be useful to review a summarized version of the requirements as new plants are considered for the spring.  A summary of the requirements are copied at the end of this post. 

The full 4 page certification application has much more information and may be found HERE  It has a much more extensive list of desireable plants.

Other interesting links to portions of the Monarch Watch website include the following:

The Main Monarch Watch Home Site is  HERE

The Monarch Watch Blog is HERE and it shows the dramatic decrease in populations

The Community Forums are HERE

Monarch Watch on Facebook  HERE


(a summary)

If your monarch habitat meets or exceeds the general description of a Monarch Waystation set forth below, your habitat may be certified by Monarch Watch as a Monarch Waystation. Upon certification, your habitat will be included in the Monarch Waystation Registry, an online listing of Monarch Waystations worldwide, and you will be awarded a certificate bearing your name and your habitat’s unique Monarch Waystation ID number. You may also choose to purchase a weatherproof sign to display, identifying your habitat as an official Monarch Waystation. 

Size. A suitable Monarch Waystation habitat can be easily integrated with an existing garden. There is no minimum area requirement in order to certify your habitat; however, a truly effective Monarch Waystation will be at least 100 square feet. The total area may be split among several sites at your location and there is no upper limit for the size of a Monarch Waystation habitat. 

Exposure. Butterflies and butterfly plants need lots of sun; therefore, Monarch Waystations need to be located in an area that receives at least six hours of sun a day. 

Drainage and Soil Type. Milkweeds and nectar plants will do best in relatively light (low-clay) soils.  Good drainage is needed to avoid root rot and provide good aeration of the roots.
Shelter. To assure that the maximum number of monarchs survive in your habitat, the plants should be relatively close together. However, they should not be crowded – be sure to follow the planting guides specific to each plant. All monarch life stages need shelter from predators and the elements. Planting milkweeds and nectar plants close together contributes to this shelter for monarchs and other wildlife.

Milkweed Plants. To maximize the utilization of your habitat by monarchs, it is desirable to include a number of milkweed species. It is best to have at least 10 plants, made up of two or more species; however, a large number of plants (more than 10) of one species is sufficient. Milkweeds of different species mature and flower at different times during the season. By increasing the number of milkweed species in your habitat you will increase the likelihood that monarchs will utilize your property for a longer period during the breeding season. 

Nectar Plants. Monarchs, other butterflies, and numerous pollinators need nectar. By providing
nectar sources that bloom sequentially or continuously during the season (as many butterfly plants do) your Monarch Waystation can provide resources for monarchs throughout the breeding season and the migration in the fall. A Monarch Waystation should contain at least 4 annual, biennial, or perennial plants that provide nectar for butterflies. 

Management. You should have a plan to sustain a Monarch Waystation. Specific actions you take will depend on the features of your habitat; however, some general examples include mulching, thinning, fertilizing, amending the soil, removing dead stalks, watering, eliminating insecticide use, removing invasive plant species, and incorporating additional features.


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