On September 27, 2019 Sheila O’Neal, one our field judges, witnessed and captured with her camera a huge number of Monarch butterflies in her yard.
“Yesterday we saw an amazing number of Monarchs flying through our front and back yard and stopping to have something to enjoy at the New England Asters,” she reported.
“If you look hard you can see a Monarch or two. They were such a deep orange colour. Just before the New England Asters flowered we had one Ironweed plant flower and the Monarchs and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were on it like nothing I had seen before. Once the asters started flowering, they were a real draw for the Monarchs.”
This is a great example of the impact of gardening for habitat. Sheila lives near Fennel and Garth on a typical urban lot that she has transformed into a space for nature. It’s amazing how a “re-wilded” garden can draw the butterflies.
This is why we need more of the good stuff. Not just one or two token native plants, but dozens–hundreds even–planted densely, using species adapted to the site’s sun and soil.
Bringing ecological thinking to our own yards DOES make a difference!
For more information on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, visit the University of Minnesota’s Monarch Lab.