Hummingbirds and Monarchs

While I’ve planted a lot of flowers and plants that attract pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies at home, my WI garden is much more natural, but equally full of attractive plants.

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This wild columbine at the woods’ edge is a natural attractant, while other native and cultivated flowering plants can be found in the garden.

Ruby-throated hummingbird

This hummingbird spent all day coming and going to these purple columbines (anyone recognize the variety?).

In the somewhat overgrown natural circular driveway area, I scattered wild milkweed seeds found on a walk last fall, as well as common milkweed seeds from Botanical Interests.  Since milkweed seeds require “stratification” (the fluctuating winter conditions of cold and moisture to germinate) I scattered them last fall and hoped for the best.  There are ways to trick them in the refrigerator if you can’t spread them in the fall.

I was so happy to see that in the spring I had a small field of milkweeds growing!  To celebrate this little monarch haven, I found this pretty wooden monarch at a local craft show and I think it adds a bit of artistic flair to the area.

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And then I waited for the monarchs to arrive…But in the meantime, I had lots of Ruby-throated hummingbird activity at the feeder to entertain me.  I’ve used a couple of different feeders and this one from Perky-Pet seems to work well and is easy to clean.

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Then I found a tiny little caterpillar!

monarch caterpillar

Success!  I had invited the monarchs to my home.  Then last week I finally had butterflies.


I was worried since I had been reading on the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab site about a terrible late winter storm that hit their wintering sites in Central Mexico.  Their numbers had just rebounded from their lowest levels ever in 2013, so this is another major setback.  But, hopefully with enough help  providing more milkweed habitats, they will rebound once again.



Beautiful!  As a bonus I had a monarch flitting in my yard at home, as well as this tiger swallowtail enjoying the zinnias.

tiger swallowtail

Any monarchs or other butterflies in your yard yet? 

Two excellent Monarch resources I found are:

One more pollinator thought— we recently visited a lavender farm on Washington Island in WI.

Washington Island Lavender

As we stood there, the hum of bees was unmistakable.  Lots of activity going on there!





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