Scientists, Environmentalists, and Politicians have brought habitat destruction and the cost that it has for wildlife to the attention of people around the World. In response, many people have begun work to preserve the natural areas that still exist and restore other areas that once served as home to wild animals and plants.
A butterfly garden is an easy way both to see more Monarchs and to contribute towards their conservation.
Butterflies like lots of different plants, so creating a garden adds biological diversity to your yard. Diversity can reduce populations of pest insects by making it harder for them to find their host plants. Butterflies also often like native plants. Including those species in your garden usually means less maintenance, since those plants are used to the natural weather conditions in your area. Butterflies themselves are an important part of the ecosystem, and can pollinate many plants.
Butterflies are easy to watch, since they're active during the warm parts of the day. They also have many interesting behaviors. After rain, for example, you might see them "puddling," or sucking fluids from wet soil to obtain water and salts. On cool sunny mornings, they often bask on a rock to warm their muscles enough to power flight. Males are often territorial, chasing other males away and trying to attract females, and females often have elaborate routines for choosing where to lay their eggs.
Be sure to include both caterpillar food plants and butterfly nectaring plants. Having caterpillar plants in your garden means butterflies are more likely to linger and explore possible sites to lay eggs. It will also increase your chances of observing both mating and egg-laying behaviors, as well as the complete butterfly life cycle from egg to adult.
Here at Hope United Methodist Church we are trying to do our part in creating, conserving and protecting Monarch Habitats. By converting two flower bed islands in the parking lot into a Monarch Waystation, "Monarch's Hope" was born. (See Photo Gallery)
We are registered with Monarch Watch, an organization dedicated to the conservation and preservation of the Monarch Butterfly.
Please stop by to view our progress as Phase I has been completed and is ready to monitor. Phase II was planted in the spring of 2015.
Phase III will be planted in the summer of 2016.