Milkweed for the Monarch Butterflies
We all love to watch butterflies in our gardens – particularly the Monarch butterfly: so named as the “king” of butterflies. The truth is however due to extreme weather, habitat destruction, urban development, their populations are rapidly declining with fewer places to lay eggs and caterpillars to survive.
Butterflies are essential to the delicate fabric of life. As birds and bees, butterflies help pollinate flowers, picking up nectar or pollen on their feet and wings. The pollen is transferred to neighbouring flowers and plants, continuing the plant life cycle other animals count on for their survival. As caterpillars, some butterflies eat aphids in addition to leaves, helping to control the population.
Some adult butterflies eat rotten fruit, assisting in the composting process. When butterflies die they become a food source for bats, snakes, frogs, lizards and birds. Life is interconnected. Like a jigsaw puzzle…when one piece is missing…the whole picture is incomplete.
Butterfly kits are available online for children. They’re highly educational, and a joy for children to observe the butterfly life cycle. Raising butterflies and then releasing them ensures the species survives.
Butterfly houses shelter butterflies from the wind. Nectar is an additional source of nourishment to offer butterflies. You could grow milkweed – food for butterflies. The successful #GotMilkWeed program was launched in Ontario recently to create corridors of milkweed plants for returning Monarch butterflies upon their migration from Mexico.
To purchase Milkweed plants for your garden and support the health of our Monarch butterflies please contact the Bow Point Nursery in Calgary.Phone: 403-686-4434.