Sunday, April 30, 2017

46. 2017 Butterfly Gardening: Research and Planning

You sometimes hear in stories about people leaping out of bed ready to tackle a goal. That literally happened to me randomly earlier in the year. I woke up with a mad desire to raise and save butterflies. I don't know if I had been having a dream or what was happening but I jumped out of bed, hair sticking out everywhere, and ran into the kitchen where my boyfriend was cooking eggs for breakfast.

"I have to save the butterflies. I don't want to live in a world without butterflies" I said to him.

"Ok, honey," he said and added some eggs to the pan to share with me.

I know very little about butterfly gardening, also known as pollinator gardening. Naturally, I had to start the process with research.

Without further ado....

  • I started by researching butterflies common to Iowa. I found a website called Insects of Iowa to be the most helpful. The provide information on native butterflies and also have PDF fils you can download. One of these files includes maps of Iowa counties so you can see which butterflies are most concentrated in your area. 
  • I also found information on Monarchs. The Monarch butterfly population is considered endangered. In order to survive, they need milkweed. So, I purchased some milkweed seeds. I have been having a difficulty getting the seeds to germinate, though. 
  • There are several notable programs to support butterfly gardening and Monarchs in particular. Monarch Watch is an especially helpful organization. I'll post more as I find them.
  • I want to make sure I am successful raising butterflies that aren't endangered and successful in getting some milkweed grown before attempting to help with Monarch populations. So, I ordered some painted lady caterpillars from Insect Lore. From what I can tell, it is a decent enough company. I have five caterpillars: Harry, Sally, Curly, Mo, and Wiggles. 
So...that is my progress so far! I will post updates as I go along. 

Cheers!

Jessica

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