Tag Archives: milkweed

I Planted Milkweed…

And the monarchs came!

Last fall at our WI cabin, I scattered milkweed seeds from native milkweed that had sparsely grown in what I call the “loop” in the center of the circular driveway.  It’s a native area anchored by three Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) trees.

There’s lots of advice on how to collect milkweed seeds from the pods on the internet, but I took the simple route of waiting until late in the fall when the pods were starting to open up on their own, and then pulled out the seeds. While still attached to the sticky silk, I just floated the seeds around the loop garden and around the edges of the woods. It was a fun afternoon project even without young kids to help!

By spreading the seeds in the fall, I didn’t need to worry about artificial seed stratification, the process of simulating the cold winter and warm, wet spring, that you need to go through to get milkweed seeds to germinate efficiently. Then I waited to see what would come up, and where, since the downside of my method was the wind blowing things in unexpected directions.

I was happy to see this spring that the number of milkweed had really multiplied all over the loop and the edges of the driveway and forest. Then this past weekend I found them! Two big, fat healthy monarch caterpillars munching away.

I can’t remember the last time I saw big monarch caterpillars like these. I’m hoping when we’re there next time, I’ll find monarch chrysalis. But they can be tricky to find since they will attach to almost any hard surface in the area, not necessarily near the milkweed.

What else is enjoying my milkweed?  The bees of course.

Hummingbirds will also enjoy milkweed occasionally, but mine tend to prefer my feeder by far.

As a hummingbird bonus, I recently added a little window feeder and they love it! This day a female came to visit. The male is a little more camera shy.

Need help making hummingbird nectar? See my previous post on an easy how-to.

 

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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

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Sunday Feature: My Michigan

A Sunday photo collage of things that remind me of many summers spent in Northern and Upper Peninsula Michigan. One sighting can throw me back to being 10 years old.

Sandy two tracks that are everywhere, taking you on an adventure.

Sandy two tracks that are everywhere, taking you on an adventure.

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Sandy trails heading off into pine woods.

Roadside pullouts that allow easy access to streams, lakes, and any beautiful spot you may want to visit

Roadside pullouts that allow easy access to streams, lakes, and any beautiful spot you may want to visit

Trout Streams

Trout Streams

Sand Dunes and beautiful views of Lake Michigan

Sand Dunes and beautiful views of Lake Michigan

Bracken Ferns

Bracken Ferns

Reindeer Lichen crunching underfoot

Reindeer Lichen crunching underfoot

Pixie cups (found usually with British Soldiers but couldn't find them this year)

Pixie cups (found usually with British Soldiers but couldn’t find them this year)

The smell of Sweet Ferns

The smell of Sweet Ferns

Milkweed, but absent the monarchs this year

Milkweed, but absent the Monarchs this year

Abundant raspberries grown in gardens and in the wild

Abundant raspberries grown in gardens and in the wild

Wild Blueberries collected for blueberry pancakes while camping

Wild Blueberries collected for blueberry pancakes while camping