Welcome to my Garden Blog

Nature: wild & untouched. Photographing it, preserving it, taking walks and drinking in the landscapes as they unfold.

Gardens: touched by loving hands. Cultivated, nurtured. Drinking in those landscapes is wonderful, as well.

In my garden one enjoys some of both. Generally unpruned & wild, my plants reshape the garden as they grow.

Beyond the garden borders, natives from the Santa Monica Mtns await. Oak trees with their shady canopies. Cactus & Sage in the sun.

Always there are animal creatures to join in the fun.

I look forward to sharing some of my experiences with you as they unfold.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Milkweed for the Love of Monarchs

                   Narrow Leafed Milkweed Asclepias fascicularis, 
                      Visited by American Lady Butterfly
                     photo courtesy of LasPilitas Nursery

If you are growing Milkweed, you are doing it for the Love of Monarchs. When purchasing Milkweed plants through a mail order catalog, it is important to check which species of Milkweed you are purchasing, making sure it is native to your area.

The West Coast Monarchs, while the same species of butterfly as the East Coast Monarchs, require a different species of Milkweed for their host plant. The plant must produce a toxin the Monarchs evolved with, otherwise they will be left defenseless against predators.

The availability of milkweed is very important for the Monarchs return journey north in the spring. The female will seek it out to lay her eggs where her caterpillars will be safe. On the West Coast this return migration takes place as early as February.

The native Milkweed we have in Santa Monica Mountains is Narrow Leafed Milkweed Asclepias fascicularis. In fact, this species is found from Southeast Washington and adjacent Idaho through California, Oregon, Baja California and west into Nevada, throughout the ‘Pacific Flyway’.

For those of you who are wondering, I live in Topanga Canyon, California.  It is one of a number of canyons in the Santa Monica Mountains which run up and down the Pacific Coast.  We have many overwintering sites nearby for the Western Monarchs, as well as a Monarch Waystation.

Excerpt from "Monarchs of the West." at BeautifulWildlifeGardens.com~ where you can read more of my posts every other Thursday.

Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns

Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns