Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lillian's Butterfly Garden and Monarch Waystation, Arowhon Pines

Lillian’s Butterfly Garden & Monarch Waystation
Arowhon Pines

There is an incredible story that was made into a BBC documentary called “Four Wings and a Prayer“.  The story documents the fascinating migration journey of the monarch butterfly from Canada to Mexico and back again – truly one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.  Unfortunately, the migration is threatened by habitat loss in North America, hence the need for way stations and tagging programs, places that provide the resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. 

So inspired, we decided to register Arowhon Pines as a Monarch Butterfly Way Station.  We were lucky to already have on our grounds milkweed and nectar sources for monarch caterpillars, larvae and adults.  Besides milkweed, other native perennials include bee balm, black-eyed Susans, goldenrod, Joe-Pye weed, asters, phlox, coneflowers, sedum, violets and more.  We’ve also added attractive annual plants that provide them with energy for their long journey - cosmos, floss flowers, marigolds, lantana, sunflowers, pentas, salvia, sweet William, verbena and zinnia.  

Arowhon has always followed common sense sustainable garden practices such as thinning, removing dead stalks by hand, using natural compost for fertilization, watering, and of course, we’ve never used pesticides or herbicides!  You will find natural areas around the grounds, free from mowing.  

Rest assured that as we research more and more, our gardens will become bigger, bolder and more beautiful!   Please visit all the grounds, but especially the sunny area in the meadow above the tennis courts. 

The most exciting part of all is that in the months of August and September we can start netting and tagging the migrating monarchs on our grounds.  Simply put, when our butterfly reaches Mexico, the data on the tag will be input and we will be sent an email message telling us that they’ve arrived!

We are committed to conserving and protecting milkweed/monarch habitats.  We hope that you and your family will participate as this project grows.

We would like to thank Donna Cooke for inspiring us to get involved and all her hard work in putting the gardens together.

Links for more information:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9nOh3WcS2g