The Cherry Creek Pollinator habitat is full of color and life. There are so many important native plants blooming now. These plants are important because they are used by migrating butterflies like monarch and painted ladies. They are also important to the native bees and other beneficial insects that will be active until the first hard frost. Blooming in the habitat right now is smooth aster, tall thistle, sawtooth sunflower, goldenrod and pitcher sage.
Posted in bees, butterfly, Habitat, Monarch, Native, perennials, Plants, Pollinators, solitary bees, Uncategorized, wildflower
- Tagged habitat, native plants, pollinators
Red Admiral and Monarch butterflies have been spotted in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. They were both seen on common milkweed which is blooming now. Plant milkweed for National Pollinator Week.
One of the monarch eggs hatched in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat today!
So I was curious. With all the reports of monarchs already seen in Nebraska, I went out to the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat this morning to look for eggs. It did not take long for me to find one on a common milkweed. Wow, its May 5th! I checked other plants and found one more. Keep in mind that these eggs were probably laid by a monarch butterfly that got blown 1500 miles from Mexico. After all those miles it still was able to find a milkweed and lay its eggs. It should have only had to travel as far as Texas and lay its eggs there. Then the butterflies from those eggs would have traveled north to Nebraska later this month. Nature is beyond amazing.
Monarch butterfly egg on common milkweed, May 5!
Milkweed plants in the Cherry Creek Habitat.
Milkweed and Monarchs are in the news today. The Lincoln Journal has a nice article on the Monarch Plan that the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and other groups, including Nebraska Extension, started last year during the Monarch Summit. Planting milkweed is a priority. Read more:
Monarchs have also been sighted in Nebraska! They are very early and there is concern for them due to April’s inconsistent weather. Read more:
Not Yet, Monarchs, Not Yet!
The common milkweed is up in the Cherry Creek Habitat and in my habitat at home as well. Consider planting more milkweed in your habitat this year. There are several different ones to plant. The flowers are unique and beautiful.
If you are interested in keeping track of the Monarch Migration, you can do that with Monarch Watch. http://www.monarchwatch.org/tagmig/index.htm
Want to become a citizen scientist? Learn more about Milkweed Watch. http://milkweedwatch.unl.edu/
Every year the Perennial Plant Association designates a “Perennial Plant of the Year.” This announcement is well know among gardeners and horticulturists like me. I usually have it as a featured article in the Horticulture section of our county newsletter the Nebline. The 2017’s selection made me jump with joy! It is an important native pollinator plant, butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). This plant will be recognized and promoted extensively this year. I am hopeful many gardeners will plant it and continue to add native plants to their landscape. It is beneficial to Monarchs and other native pollinators.
Posted in milkweed, Monarch, Native, perennials, Plants, Pollinators
- Tagged environment, flowers, landscape, milkweed, Monarch, Native, perennial, Plant
The monarch migration has begun! We are seeing so many monarchs in the Cherry Creek habitat this week. This is really good news. Thousands of monarchs died in Mexico due to a surprise snow storm, in March, before they started their migration this spring. The fact that there are so many this fall is a good sign. We will remain hopeful that the population will rebound.
Monarch on zinnia in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat in September.
Several monarchs on the zinnias in the pollinator habitat during fall migration.
To continue helping monarchs and other pollinators in the fall it is important to have fall blooming perennial plants like asters and tall sedum. Also consider annual flowers such as zinnias and sunflowers in the landscape too.
Enjoy the great fall weather!
Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar in parsley. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.
As I drove home yesterday, a monarch butterfly flew very near my truck! I was relieved to have missed it (or it missed me!) Unlike other years, I just haven’t encountered a lot of butterflies in my pollinator garden at home or on the road.
Are you seeing butterflies and moths? Are you also wondering where the butterflies have gone? I’ve gotten several calls from people who grow host plants in their landscapes specifically for butterflies. Some call me every year to report what they are seeing. But, like my own garden, people are reporting very few butterflies or caterpillars. Continue reading
Monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed.
We received good news today. Monarch butterfly numbers are up in their wintering grounds in Mexico. But there is much we need to do to keep them off the endangered species list. We need to increase habitat for them in their summer breeding areas. Nebraska is right in the middle of this important location in North America.
This week I was invited to a Monarch Summit. The Monarch Planning Team held a two day summit for discussion to begin on a Nebraska Monarch & Pollinator Conservation Plan. Invited speaker, Dr. Chip Taylor, Director of Monarch Watch gave us Monarch statistics and shared helpful guidance to get us underway forming a plan for Nebraska.
There is plenty we can do now. This spring, plant milkweed and native plants. Reduce the use of pesticides. Create a pollinator habitat in your landscape. Learn more about the Monarch Waystation Program at MonarchWatch.org
Happy New Year!
Honey bee visiting a birdbath.
Monarch caterpillar on swamp milkweed.
Bumble bee on Pitcher’s sage.
Here are a few ways you can help pollinators this year. This is a resolution that will be fun and easy to keep.
Offer a Drink
Bees need water to drink. Create a water feature with rocks for insects to land. Be sure to keep birdbaths clean and change the water three times per week when mosquitoes are breeding.
Plant native plants in your landscape. There are so many amazing plants to choose from. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: plains coreopsis, pasque flower, pitcher sage, purple coneflower, smooth aster and rough gayfeather.
Bloom all Season
It is important to have native flowers blooming the whole growing season. Pollinators need plants blooming March through November.
Monarchs need our help. Provide food for monarch butterfly caterpillars. There are several milkweeds to choose from: butterfly milkweed, common milkweed, whorled milkweed and swamp milkweed.
Protect pollinators by eliminating pesticides from your landscape. Plant native plants that have few pest or disease issues. Maintain a healthy soil by composting. Healthy soils produce healthy plants.
Learn more about organizations that support pollinators such as Pollinator Partnership. You can participate in citizen scientist programs for pollinators such as Bumble Boosters-University of Nebraska, Bumble Bee Watch-Xerces Society, The Great Sunflower Project-San Francisco State University and the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project-Monarch Watch.