This year was the first full growing season at this house with my garden of Missouri native wildflowers and plants. I couldn’t have been happier and I’d venture to say that the butterflies, bees, and birds enjoyed it as well.
Sure, I like the occasional mums on my porch next to the pumpkins in the fall, however my heart is with Missouri’s native plants. Each season they provide something of interest for me to marvel at, but more importantly, a diverse biological community depends on them. It may be nectar in the early months of spring, seeds and berries for birds when bugs are scarce in the winter months, or places for tiny caterpillars to munch before metamorphic changes occur in the summer.
I often find myself sitting outside longer than anticipated to see if one more monarch will visit the blazing star or how many different types of bees I can count on my asters. At one point this year, I counted four monarchs plus eleven painted lady butterflies on a single plant. I’d like to think they offered their thanks for the nourishment my yard provided by sticking around the entire day before they embarked on their strenuous journey to their winter home.
The garden not only showcases its visual beauty through a variety of colors and flower types - it gives plenty of activity through sounds and smells to keep me engrossed in the power and relevance of biodiversity in an urban setting.
-Story contributed by Christy C. through Milkweeds for Monarchs: The St. Louis Butterfly Project, a program of the City of St. Louis Mayor's Office.