Garden · HOME & GARDEN

Monarch Butterfly Waystation Design Project

monarch waystation copy

A lot of project ideas have been brewing in me and Nicky’s mind over the past several months. It has been a very busy, snowy, and cold winter here in Kentucky. Last year we did a lot of work in my yard. This year one of our goals is to create a Monarch Waystation.

Last October we went to a rain garden glass, hosted by a local ‘green’ organization in our city. We found out some good information, met people, and got to apply for a grant to purchase plants for a garden. We already had some ideas, including wanting to make these rain gardens part of a Monarch Butterfly Waystation.

monarch-butterfly-zinnia

I used my landscape architecture skills, creating plans, drawings, and writing up the grant application. Last week we found out we were told wrong information about the grant, and it turns out we don’t qualify because we live in the wrong county (even though they also have a lot of extra grants to give out…) We were pretty sure we’d get one and had gotten excited as the decision deadline approached.

We figured we’d let ourselves feel upset for a day, then move on to find another way to make this garden happen. I heard about Indiegogo from a friend and thought I’d give it a go-go (oh!). Indiegogo is like Kickstarter in that contributors will help make this garden happen! Each dollar will go towards plants for this garden, and you’ll also get some cool things sent to you in the mail as a big ol’ Thanks!

Monarch Waystation

We’re also excited because this way we’ll be spreading the word more about Monarchs and using beautiful native plants in the landscape!

Here is our campaign page on Indiegogo! Our goal is to raise $500 to purchase the specific plants needed for this garden. Right now 2 days in we have raised $65. Each dollar is going to have a big impact on the Monarch population!

Monarchs are really important pollinating creatures who also have a really neat migration pattern and cultural influence. We’ll write more about this in future posts. Their population is really declining due to habitat loss. Their population counts are taken when they are hibernating, which is done upon the pine and fir trees in Mexico and Southern California. Records began in 1993, and last year 2013 has been the lowest since.

Here is an article written about their declining population

milkweed-flower-plant

There are all sorts of milkweeds native to the US. These are the plants that the Monarchs really need. They eat their leaves, which makes the Monarch toxic for predators to ingest. Milkweed is the only plant really they will lay eggs on. Plant this in your garden and you will be able to witness its cocoon process yourself.

monarch-zinnia

Monarchs also love annuals such as cosmos and zinnias. We’ll be talking more about annuals in future posts.

blazing-star-flowerBlazing Star is a beautiful native perennial used as a nectar plant by all kind of butterflies and bees.

bumble-bee-on-zinniaWe also want to help the bee, butterfly, and song bird populations with this Monarch Waystation.

butterfly-zinnia

UFO-on-verbena

And also really cool UFI type insects!

We really want to make this Monarch Waystation/Rain Garden/Backyard Wildlife garden something our community is going to see and learn about. I’ve already talked to people in my neighborhood and they seem fascinated with what’s going on in the front yard, and no one really knows about these types of gardens I’m talking about. Once everything is created, we’ll be able to get some signs put in the yard that will tell people what it’s all about. We hope to educate and encourage people to use more native plants that will benefit the butterflies, insects, and birds in our region. We also want to spread the word nationally and globally by writing through ex-scapes.

Check out some books, movies, and other cute things of the Monarch

The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies by NOVA (Movie 2009)

The Monarch & Milkweed by Helen Frost Children’s Book

Four Wings of a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly by Sue Halpern

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