|Painted Lady on Okra, Photo Credit: Linda Langelo|
If you want to see Painted Lady Butterflies and/or Monarchs and others and help with their population numbers, then think about giving them food sources in your landscape. Monarch caterpillars require milkweed while the adults take nectar from cosmos, Canada thistle, rabbitbrush, zinnias and many more flowers.
|Monarch on aster, Photo Credit Linda Langelo|
There are several sites you can go to for information on planting the appropriate plants in your region:
- www.nwf.org/nativeplantfinder National Wildlife Foundation
- http://bonap.net/napa Biota of North America's North American Plant
- http://plants.usda.gov USDA's Plant Database
- http://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/insect/05505.pdf Colorado State University Fact Sheet on Attracting Butterflies to the Garden
- Start a Monarch Watch waystation. You can register your garden. By doing that you receive a sign advertising your garden's friendliness to monarchs. Then the name of the city and waystation owner will be listed on the program's website.
- The North American Butterfly Association has certification program that covers habitat requirements for all butterflies.
- Wild Ones launched a monarch-specific certification program for gardens planted with species native to North America.
- The Xerces Society has a certification for "pollinator habitat" program.
Coloring your garden with key plants can make it a local food bank for butterflies, moths and many more pollinators. According to Karen Oberhauser, a monarch researcher at University of Minnesota along with other scientists, points out that monarchs "are the flagship species. By preserving monarch habitat that includes nectar sources and milkweed, we're going to be helping a lot of other organisms as well."
|Overnight guests on a cotoneaster, Photo Credit: Teresa Howes|
Fall isn't just for the fascinating colors of leaves, it is for the butterflies, too. And yes, all the other pollinators, too.