Food and habitat for butterflies are dwindling every year. You can help by planting milkweed for the monarch caterpillars to eat and nectar plants for butterfly nourishment, says Chip Taylor, entomologist at the University of Kansas and director of Monarch Watch.
In May of 2012, several people in my neighborhood started a butterfly garden in one of our common shrub beds. We got a late start, and the summer of 2012 was hot and dry, so we didn’t see much butterfly activity. Fortunately, the winter of 2012-13 was wet, and the perennial plants revived and then thrived. We added more plants, which did so well that they need to be divided and moved apart in 2014 — if they survive the winter. This summer, I counted a lot of black swallowtail caterpillars, as many as 20 at a time on bronze fennel and parsley plants. I only saw a few monarch butterfly caterpillars, although the garden has four large milkweed plants. Hopefully, next year the monarchs will find our garden. I may order some caterpillars, too. Here’s the link for ordering Monarch caterpillars: Monarch Rearing Kit.
Click on this link for more information: One Beautiful Thing You Can Do to Help Monarch Butterflies
Monarch Watch Website. Monarch Watch is a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular fall migration.
I’ve written many posts about butterflies and Monarch Watch. Here’s one about the fall open house at Monarch Watch, which includes a lot of photographs: Butterfly School at Monarch Watch Fall 2009 Open House.