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I Wish You Could Smell This: It's Milkweed Time!

July 9, 2020

My Instagram feed is full of friends’ photos of monarch eggs on their milkweed. I, on the other hand, have been waiting like an expectant mother for the first monarch mama to find my milkweed patch. Of course, maybe I haven’t been looking at the right time. After all, she is less aware of me than I of her.

Today, my wait is over. Mama arrived along with bees and other bugs. As I stealthily stood by the garden, common milkweed fragrance drifted about. The sweat on my brow and back instantly became less bothersome as the perfume filled my senses. Did she smell it too? At that moment I wasn’t interested in a scientific answer. I was happy knowing we had a mutual interest: milkweed.

While Common Milkweed can be aggressive, every yard should have it. I pluck out errant sprouts regularly, leaving behind a neat-ish crop. I felt dastardly “weeding” my milkweed at first but practice aided my understanding of somewhat tidy vs. anything goes. Mixed with Swamp, Butterfly, and Showy milkweeds, the Common has a commanding presence. I’m captivated by its understated color of pinkish brown flowers, soft leaves, stout stem, and smell.

For now, plant watching is enough but don’t kid yourself. I’m watching for her. I’ll stand aside my milkweed plot again pretending to be absent until she lands so I can document her with a shutter snap. How many monarch pics can one person have?! Now, that’s a silly question.

Monarch Egg on Common Milkweed
Common Milkweed Plant
Bee on Common Milkweed

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