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What's Up in Barb's Yard? Monarch Madness!

August 15, 2019

By: Barb Holtz

Not long ago I shared a "baby picture" of my milkweed sprouts. Hope sown in November 2018 comes to fruition in late spring 2019. As any proud mother, I dote over my milkweed offspring, especially as they make friends. The monarchs have taken to my patch and what fun to watch!

While I know as a purveyor of seed how it all works, I still get a thrill when it actually does work. It's an "if you build it, they will come" experience. Just as the baseball players emerged from the corn to take the field in Iowa, I never tire of seeing nature find it's way to my little landscape of natives. This Monarch enjoyed her stay, finding flowers to quench thirst and fuel her task. From flower to leaf, she paused to make her next-generation deposit, each egg a singular, faceted jewel. How can something so tiny continue this timeless sequence of migratory arrival to egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to migratory return. As age old as the cycle is, being a spectator to this dance is awe-filled every time.

The Milkweed Madness packet I sowed last year has created a haven for monarchs, other butterfly species and bees. I especially enjoyed the Monarch's u-turn from a nearby pepper plant back to the milkweed. She knows what she likes! Each time she pauses on a leaf, she tucks her abdomen to the underside and bestows one egg. Did you know a single female monarch can lay up to 500 eggs? I'm tired just thinking about it.

Bright Orange Blooms on Butterfly Milkweed
Egg on Swamp Milkweed

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