...and Good News About the West Coast Monarchs
Hi folks - Here's great news about the Western Monarch butterfly population:
Substantially More Monarch Butterflies Have Arrived in California to Overwinter Bringing Hope For Species - Nov. 2021
|Monarchs in Pismo Beach, CA by Steve Corey, CC license|
Those of you who've been following our Blog know that the Sharing Gardens is dedicated to fostering habitat for the flora and fauna that call this place "home". We've had several successes in the insect realm:
Last week we discovered a preying mantis in our celery patch - left. We haven't ever noticed any baby mantises though they're super-tiny so it's not surprising, but we have noticed several egg cases each year. They like to lay them on wood or metal surfaces.
|Preying mantis egg-case|
|Preying Mantis - Sharing Gardens - 2017|
|A Swallowtail butterfly on one of our marigold patches.|
|We found this Sphinx moth on the end of a bamboo pole in August. |
I (Llyn) have been developing my skills at propagating Showy Milkweeds - a host plant for Monarchs. We now have three established patches that self-sow and return yearly. Though we've yet to see any Monarchs (we're at the very northern-most reach of their migration-range), each spring, when the milkweeds are blooming, they are just covered with other kinds of pollinators: butterflies and bees of various kinds. Here's a post I wrote about our Milkweed/Monarch program.
|Showy milkweed in bloom.|
Happily, many frogs have taken up residence on our land as well. We love to sleep with our windows open on summer nights and hear their chorus of croaks as they commune with joy. Here's Adri with a pair of them she carefully caught on a volunteer-day.
And our sunflowers, and Birdseed Millet-patches provide plenty of food for many kinds of birds in our neighborhood. Some of the plants we leave for them to enjoy in the field while some of them we harvest, dry and store so we can distribute the seeds throughout the winter. (That's Jazmin - right - with a Mammoth Russian sunflower head).
And here's an article that describes how, in England, hundreds of land-owners of relatively small plots (churches, houses, city parks) are contributing to a massive movement of "re-wilding" that now amounts to about 600,000 acres! So, every little bit helps!