It’s One for the Butterflies – Monarch Waystation Update

by Karen on October 17, 2014

Monarch Close Up

Monarchs and Flowers Beauty Paired

This summer, we posted some information about Karen’s involvement with her daughter’s school garden in Fairfax, VA.  The garden has been established as an official Monarch Waystation.  Karen and her school gardening club worked hard over the summer and now have a fully successful landing “pad” for the butterflies and their caterpillars.

IMG_0073The kids have found many, many caterpillars and several chrysalises over the past few weeks.  It’s such a great learning opportunity for the entire school and a great hands-on experience for the kids (and parents!) who did the work to build it.

IMG_6847There are over 20 types of plants in the garden.  It features Milkweed (Common and Swamp) which is the Monarch caterpillar’s only food and many nectar rich flowers for the butterflies to “eat/drink”.  As it happens the flowers are pleasing to humans as well:  zinnias, cleomi, asters, sunflowers, golden rod, jerusalem artichoke, and more.

Zinnias and Friends

Zinnias and Friends

Karen has become a true Monarch expert. And it’s fascinating business for kids and adults alike – she has Monarch habitats at her home office now so we’ve been enjoying watching the caterpillars eat, shed and turn into hanging “J” shaped critters.  The chrysalis is under the last layer of skin – so their last shedding of skin as they hang from their ceiling yields the green chrysalis. The caterpillars wiggle into the chrysalis and harden over a day or two.
The last of the butterflies has been set free – much to the delight of the neighbors who get to come watch them as they dry their gorgeous wings perched atop Karen’s zinnias. The entire life cycle from egg hatch to new butterfly is 30 days.  Great timing for all attention spans.
If you’d like Karen’s expertise for your home garden (with or without Monarchs), just click here to contact us – gardening is an A Second Me service!
To learn more, check out these great sites – and you can track the Monarchs as they make their way through your neighborhood!

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