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We have Monarch butterflies and caterpillars: Creating a Monarch Habitat  RSS feed

 
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Casie Becker wrote:That tells me I need to go see if I can gather any seed from the wild antelope milkweeds growing on the roadside near here. They're developing new neighborhoods in that area, so if I don't get it this year there's a good chance I've missed my opportunity.

I did think I saw a butterfly that looked like a monarch on one of my salvia bushes earlier this year. I thought I'd misidentified some other kind. I didn't realize they came through here so early.

Planting more milkweed is on my to do list for this year. Unless it's just being really late to the party (which I think it was last year) ours didn't survive the winter either.



Casie, look for pods that look like they might open soon.  I am sure you know that you want the seeds to be viable.  It is hard for me to catch them just before they open. I try to watch the seam as that is an indication when it is to open soon.  

I have not been able to check our one pod and I gave DH a organza bag to put over it since he doesn't want me in the woods, the bag is still sitting on the table so I might not get any seeds.

Wayne, thank you for the picture.  That is the ones we have.

5/19 -20/17 we got our first significant rain this spring about an inch.  Before that we had a couple of 1/100th of an inch.

The milkweed plants are still tiny.

I had a good crop of purslane in two hanging baskets and two self watering planters but rabbits got them while the planters were sitting on the ground.  I moved the hanging baskets to the tree and put the self watering planters on the crates that I had over the chives.  Since the crates were not over the chives the deer tried tasting then but spit them out.  After I replanted them I found some plastic basket and put over them.  The deer also pulled up the yarrow that I had transplanted.  It was too dried out when I found it.
 
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One more pic for you. The milkweed seeds are popping right now. Pretty cool.

20170530_194914-480x640.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20170530_194914-480x640.jpg]
 
Anne Miller
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Wayne, thanks for the picture.  Really neat that the wind hadn't already blew them away.  Did you collect the seed?

Before the rain event started, we found one organza bag full of an open pod with lots of fluff and seeds.  I separated the seeds and fluff, saving both for future use and the pod.

Unfortunately, yesterday, DH brought me a bag with an unopened pod.  The bag had some white stains on it probably from the milk from the pod I cut off that had opened which caused him to think the pod had opened.  I put the pod in an envelope and marked it as probably not viable but I will probably sow them in the fall just in case they might be viable.

I have been deadheading all the sage and firewheels and putting the deadheads over in my rock meadow.  I put out lots of seeds in the rock meadow then we didn't get any rain.  Maybe now some of the annual seeds will come up. Since they were wildflower most of them may come up next year.

The rain event has been slow and steady but the soil dries out quickly.

Dh has been obsessing over my plantings this year.  Maybe from too much time on his hands from not being able to get outside and work.  I choose eggplant this year over squash as he doesn't like the smell of squash cooking and I can eat only so much raw.  Now everyday, I have to listen to "Did you research eggplant?"; "I'm going to have to pull up two of the three we planted"; "Do you know when they are ripe?"!  so far I have one bloom.

Then he started on the swamp milkweed I planted in a pot.  "Why did uou plant it in a pot?"  because it needs more water.  "We are going to have to move them"; "Why don't you water your garden more?"  well the sage and yarrow like it fine and I water everything else a couple of times daily as they are still very small.

I don't tell him how to grow and maintain his veggies, I just enjoy eating them.

He also said he was going to contact Dupont for them to do some experiments with my garden.  I told him I don't want anything to do with Dupont or Monsanto!
 
wayne fajkus
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For the last week I can look out and see hundreds of the fluff blobs. We got 1.6" rain last night. I'll take a walk soon. See if they washed off.

My property is sloped.  The majority of plants are on the high part. I see no need to collect them. They should move downhill on their own
 
Anne Miller
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6/17/17  I went out to water the parsley and it is covered with Black Swallowtail caterpillars!  



 
Anne Miller
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7/2/17 - I enjoy spending time in my flower garden aka Monarch Garden and watching the bees and butterflies.  Occasionally I hear a hummingbird as it rushes by.  

Right now everything I planted this year is still small.  I have blue sage and firewheels blooming that came up from last year.  One milkweed and a lonely red sage are blooming. I bought annual vinca at the big box store to add color for the hummingbirds.

After some much needed rain last week the iris have all put on new leaves except two of the three that got beheaded by the deer.  Those two still show promise.  The chair is working to keep deer away.

Almost everyday, Stupid the deer who made DH her pet and her baby that now has horns (abt a year old) come by for a daily visit.  DH has decided to name the baby Short Timer but I am afraid his tameness may get both him and his mother an early end.  So far Stupid made it through two hunting seasons or more.   If they will stay on our property they will be OK.  Our hunters moved to a better lease where they can hunt everything without worrying about killing the wrong ones.
 
Anne Miller
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9/24/17  It is now officially Fall.

I have seen Monarchs though they seem to be flying from the Antelope Horn Milkweed to the Swamp Milkweed that is in a pot by the vegetable garden and then off into the woods somewhere.  They must have found the Swamp Milkweed in the Monarch Garden as a week or so ago I saw a caterpillar.  That night we had a hail storm and I have not seen it again.

This year has not been a good year for gardening.  I have not watered the blue sage at all so it only has gotten what little rainfall, though it is doing great.  The Scarlet sage that I planted for the hummingbirds is a great indicator for when I need to water.  The Rosemary is quite drought tolerant as is the Echinachea aka Purple Coneflower.  The Lavender gets watered with everything else so it is doing well.  The iris and chives are drought tolerant, too and the deer have finally left them alone.  The Mexican Marigold did really well as I had five or six blooms before the deer or something ate all the blooms and leaves.  We have tons of French Marigolds which are also a good indicator that I need to water.

We have lots of butterflies and hummingbirds.  The water we put out for the birds is visited quite regularly by Cardinals, Black capped Vireos and I have seen at least one Painted Bunting and Golden Cheeked Warbler.  The birds seem to come most often before a rain storm so that might be an indicator for approaching storms.

Still lots of deer; the pet, Stupid and her yearling, Short Timer are still around; Short Timer has a very good rack for a yearling.

On a sad note, I lost my crop of Firewheels to some sort of disease which cause them to loose the green color on the leaves.

 
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Our proposed butterfly installation at Amboy, California, links the Monarch on the north-south axis with Euptoieta claudia: one of its nectar plants is milkweed. Closest relative is the Mexican fritillary. We had hoped to establish an installation in Idaho or Montana for E. claudia studies (it ranges into Shoshone County). E. claudia is an anti-cancer link via one of its food plants.

Euptoieta claudia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euptoieta_claudia
 
Anne Miller
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Mike, Welcome to permies!

Thank you for sharing and the work you are doing.  

The year before we started our Monarch Garden we had Monarchs and also the Monarch lookalike, which might be the Mexican Fritillary, I can't remember the name now.  This year we had Gulf Fritillary; Queen and a orange one that I couldn't get a close enough look to see but might have been Goatweed Leafwing.
 
Anne Miller
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Some information on the Monarch's migration to Mexico:

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141010-monarch-butterfly-migration-threatened-plan/


 
Anne Miller
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3/3/18  I read that some of the Monarchs have been sighted in  Texas.

Yesterday, I planted 8 Egyptian Walking Onions.  I planted them in the Monarch Garden because it has a fence and I didn't want rabbits to eat them.

I noticed that the Mesquite Trees are budding out so I hope Mother Nature will not forecast any more freezes.

The Lavender and Rosemary are evergreen. The Blue Sage came up about a week ago.  Other than a lone Blue Bonnet, some Firewheels that came up during the winter, Garlic Chives and Iris are the only things showing life.

Stupid, the deer showed up after deer season so she made it through another year.  

About a week ago, I went out about 9pm and there was something I thought was a dog.  It looked like it was going to come towards me.  Then it looked over at it's companion and I saw it was a Jack rabbit.

I bought Carmine King California Poppy, Red Shirley Corn Poppy and Scarlet Flax seeds to add some red color to the garden for the Hummingbirds.

I have been adding coffee grounds to the soil especially where it is just mostly caliche.
 
Anne Miller
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3/13/18   Every year it seems like there is always some new wildflowers. What is growing and/or blooming:

Agarita
Hypoxis hirsuta - Common Goldstar/Yellow star-grass
Coreopsis nuecensis - Crown Tickseed/Crown Coreopsis
Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa - Four-nerve daisy
Glandularia bipinnatifida - Prairie verbena
Erodium texanum - Texas stork's bill  (I actually have two variety of the stork's bill)
Heliotropium curassavicum - Salt heliotrope  (1st time I have seen these so ID was challenging)
Oenothera primiveris - Desert evening-primrose
Quincula lobata - Purple groundcherry/Chinese lantern

Four of my five purple coneflower plants have come back; all the sage plants plus lots of volunters; the iris is getting ready to bloom.
Still not sign of life in the red sage or milkweed.


 
Anne Miller
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4/6/18 - Last week the iris had blooms. The honeysuckle is blooming.  Swamp Milkweed has sprouted. Firewheels and Blue Sage are blooming.  Echinacea has buds on it.

The plot where we planted blue bonnets is a total fail this year.  We had a drought in October.  The few that came up are totally gone.  Some with the firewheel that were planted next to them.  Also I had put out the seeds from a whole pod of Antelope Hone Milkweed.  Haven't seen anything that might be milkweed.
 
wayne fajkus
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I was happy to see the fennell i planted last year came back up from the roots. It supported several caterpillars/butterflies. I am going to try to establish some around my property this year.
 
Anne Miller
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Every year we have different wildflowers that I have not seen before.

We have something that looks like fennel.  Some looks like they might be getting ready to bloom. If it is a wild variety it would be nice for the butterflies.
 
wayne fajkus
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If i remember right, it was eastern swallowtail that uses fennel. It was an accident. We planted fennel to have fennel. Having the caterpillars was a nice surprise.
 
Anne Miller
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We have a flowering plant that  I have not been able to identify.  My searches on wildflower.org comes up with Indigo.  I think it looks more like self heal.  I am hoping that someone will come by with a camera to take picture.

While walking the dog, on the road to the sunflower plot,  I found what I think is Sainfoil. The plants are very small but look like it.  There is nothing on the wildflower.org website for either name.

It has gray green leaves like this:



The blooms look like this:




https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onobrychis


And what I thought was wild fennel has bloomed.  Very ting white cluster that look like the yellow fennel blooms.

 
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nice information
 
Anne Miller
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So the plant identified as a possible indigo,  Might be ...

from a distance it looks like this:

Amorpha nana - Dwarf false indigo, Fragrant indigo-bush, Fragrant false indigo, Dwarf wild indigo  (not native to Texas)



Here is the description of a stalk:

Flowers are deep purple, not the maroon from a distance.  The stalk is over 12"; The flower head is 3".  The leaves are light green, not the gray green like the other plant though the leaves are similar.  Four leaves on each side making total leaves 8-10.

Looks a lot like this:

Amorpha georgiana var. confusa - Georgia False Indigo




This one the leaves look like it, flower is wrong:

ndigofera miniata - Scarlet Pea, Coastal indigo, Texas Indigo, Western indigo

 
Anne Miller
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I just found this post by Tyler Ludens:









http://ursulav.deviantart.com/art/A-Public-Service-Announcement-409462456

https://permies.com/t/62115/Leaves-Good-Mulch
 
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In looking for native milkweed to replace a tropical one that died I stumbled across several articles posted on the Texas Butterfly Ranch suggesting that one large contributer to monarch decline is not having enough food available right before they cross the Mexican deserts on the way south.  Now I am extending my plant hunts for goldenrod, ironweed, and other late season bloomers that will thrive on neglect in my wild area. Honestly,  I'm always happy for an excuse to plant more flowers.

Edit... I did find native milkweed in a local nursery (Red Barn).  They were limited by the supplier to two flats per order so I felt lucky to get there the morning it arrived.  It was even the species I most wanted.
 
wayne fajkus
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I enjoyed red barn when i lived in austin. Glad they are still around.

I can mail milkweed seeds to anyone that asks. Just send me a purple mooseage with address. The seed pods are forming. Shouldnt be too long.

Casey, can you post pics of these other plants. I can see if i have them already.
 
Casie Becker
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Goldenrod and ironweed are both native wildflowers.  I'm having trouble sourcing actively growing plants so it may be a while before I have any. Goldenrod has a particularly nasty reputation for becoming invasive in a garden.  I may end up gathering seeds from the roadside this fall. But even after planting I don't know if they bloom in their first year.  If you have space, goldenrod can be a very impressive plant.  As a teenager in the fall I would walk through a stand of it that stood higher than me.  It was like a full tunnel of flowers.

I have purple cone flower, dahlias, white mist flower and many salvia varieties that will produce until frost growing in the garden beds.  I will snap some pictures and figure out posting from my phone later.

We let wild sunflowers grow pretty much anywhere and those just started blooming this week. It's actually rare for me to be in the yard without seeing butterflies.  Even in the middle of winter any day above freezing has this sulphur yellow butterfly feeding on the henbit growing through the dormant grass.
 
Anne Miller
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Casie, I like the Butterfly Ranch website.  I often visit it.

I tried planting Goldenrod in 2016.  None of my seeds came up.  Maybe I will try again next year.

There are people on ebay selling both goldenrod and ironweed plants.  I have had good luck with the ones I have bought there.

Do you have frostweed?  It is one that is recommended for Monarchs.  

I have always seen Monarchs until this year.  Even though we are growing milkweed.
 
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No frostweed, but I just picked up some goldenrod today.  I regretted not picking it up when I grabbed the antelope horn.  When I went today I was also able to grab some common milkweed. I think I am done planting until next fall.
 
Casie Becker
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Okay, I was inspired by finding native milkweed at the nursery to finally get seed for some of the other varieties. All the packets suggest it will be two to three years till bloom.  I'm cold stratifying in the fridge right now, to plant in mid to late summer, transplanting into the ground at the first sign of fall. Does this mean I should expect blooms in 2020 or 2021?  I'm not sure if fall planting gets counted as a full year.
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Casie Becker
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Okay, I was inspired by finding native milkweed at the nursery to finally get seed for some of the other varieties. All the packets suggest it will be two to three years till bloom.  I'm cold stratifying in the fridge right now, to plant in mid to late summer, transplanting into the ground at the first sign of fall. Does this mean I should expect blooms in 2020 or 2021?  I'm not sure if fall planting gets counted as a full year.
 
Anne Miller
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Casie, This is the second summer for the Swamp Milkweed which was planted spring 2017 with no blooms yet.  These we planted in a big pot.  None of the ones we planted in the Monarch Garden came back.

This sounds like a neat idea to try though from the comments people get mixed results:

https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/winter-sowing-milkweed-seeds-prepare-containers/






I have been wondering if you have any idea about my mystery plant I posted about in April?  [I posted the description and pictures to help me remember next year.]

"Flowers are deep purple, not the maroon [as seen]  from a distance.  The stalk is over 12"; The flower head is 3".  The leaves are light greenl, not the  gray green like the other plant though the leaves are similar.  Four leaves on each side making total leaves 8-10.

Most of the plants that wildflower.org show are big shrubs.  This plant is a wildflower.  


I have found another mystery plant.  It is growing outside the garden where the firewheels are growing.  It is about 3" tall growing in a mound [dome shape]  and has tiny blueish 5 petal flowers.  The tiny flowers close at night and do not open until afternoon.  Best I can come up with is phlox.  

Looks similar to this:



 
Casie Becker
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Sorry, I have no clue for the one in April.   Keep an eye on it, though.  Since false indigo can act like a hardy perennial  (freezing to the ground each winter) I wouldn't rule it out yet.  I'm growing some, but it's still too young to flower.

I keep getting distracted by speedwell for the second, but it doesn't have enough petals.  As a long shot, maybe look at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anagallis_arvensis#Description apparently there are blue varieties of scarlet pimpernel.  I get the red one in my yard so I know some is in area.
 
Anne Miller
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I think maybe we have a winner!  It does look and sound like the A. arvensis f. azurea.

When the blooms are closed they are the size of a pinhead.  I will go out this afternoon to check the flowers again.  Sorry that it is an annual so I may never see it again.  I put a rock circle around it so I will know where it was.

Thank you.

I plan to keep an eye out on the April plants.  There are two beds, one is about 4' x 4' and the other is about 2.5' x 2.5'.  I am thinking they may have always been there and I never saw the plants due to tall grass that wasn't growing this year.
 
Anne Miller
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8/22/2018  I thought I would post an update.  We finally got much needed rain.  One day it rained 8" in a 15 min. time frame.  Our pond has filled up though it will not stay full for long.

A few weeks ago, we had a full week of 115' days.

On the other side of our drive way we have turks cap, autumn sage, honey suckle and a blackberry.  They all did well without being watered, except the blackberry.

The blue sage, lavender and rosemary did well as I was watering the Egyptian walking onions.

I still have one firewheel plant growing without being watered.

The yarrow may have bit the dust.

The chives got ate by deer so I put a chair over them.  They grow fast even without being watered and are now blooming.
 
Anne Miller
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I just want to post another update for 9/25/2018

It is still raining.  We get a few days without rain and then it starts raining again.  We went from getting almost no rain in the spring and summer to having a monsoon.  I doubt if I could get my car down our county road if we have an emergency.

Our pond has fill up even though our hunters found that the stream into it was block with dirt and debris.

The Blue Sage, Autumn Sage and Turks Cap made it though the summer without me having to haul water to them.  I planted the Walking Onion with the Blue Sage and I did water the onions.














 
Anne Miller
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10/15/2018 - It is 37 degrees outside and it is still a couple of weeks until Halloween when we usually have some cool weather.  And it has been raining off and on since August.  It is raining today.

Yesterday and the day before, we had Monarch butterflies coming through on their way to Mexico.  There have been quite a few though not a mass, they are traveling about 5 to 10 feet apart. I am sure they were looking for the milkweed that is growing in the woods.  They also flew back to look at the pitiful one in a pot, all the rain has took its toll on it.

This is what I see out my front door:








And if I am lucky I will see:





 
Anne Miller
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10/17/2018
According to the Sheriff's Facebook page, our Ranch Road is closed at both ends by low water crossings that have flooded.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a state disaster declaration for these 18 counties Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in response to severe weather and flooding

It is sad for those affected.  As long as we have electricity we will be ok as we have plenty of food and water.   If the electricity goes off then we will lose our cell phone signal and will not be able to call anyone.  We will have heat since we use propane. I am not used to having cold weather this time of year.

Since our altitude is over 3000 ft, I am hoping not to have any problems with flooding though our house has wet weather creeks on three sides and our pond is about to over flow.  My husband has been concern with what will happen if it over flow.  We may find out.  

I might have to sing that Johnny Cash song about rising water.
 
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We found out what happens when the pond overflows.  Evidently the person who built the pond knew what he was doing.  The pond is rectangular shaped about 50 ft long and maybe 20 ft wide and 20 ft deep.  One end has a area like wet weather creek flowing into it. The far side is higher than the side that faces our house which is why we were worried.

Evidently the builder of the pond made a natural looking spillway that we had not detected.  So the water is running onto that area into another wet weather creek.  I wish I had a camera to take pictures of the pond with the water flowing out of it.


There are more road closures, more flooding, more evacuations ..



This is my pond as it normally looks:




This is the LLano River with the bridge that collapsed:




Lots of these:





 
I do some of my very best work in water. Like this tiny ad:
Self-Sufficiency in MO -- 10 acres of Eden, looking for a renter who can utilize and appreciate it.
https://permies.com/t/95939/Sufficiency-MO-acres-Eden-renter
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