My Monarch Project
DescriptionMy first love of gardening and all nature started as a child with numerous camping and fishing trips with my parents. My father always taught us the beauty of nature and of need to protect and share it.
As an adult my garden has always been a place of beauty but also a learning experience and a place of serenity! My monarch garden started several years ago after hearing reports of the decreased population of the monarchs. Since I have always planted my yard for the wildlife that it brings and I enjoy, this seemed a simple step to take. Being a member of the National Wildlife Federation and the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge Project I want to learn, share and teach all that I can to excite others to the beauty I have learned.
My garden explodes each year with vibrant color and sweet smells. I pride myself on the fact that I don’t utilize herbicides and fertilizers unless natural. I feed all of the nature in the yard which includes numerous bird species, rabbits, squirrels and of course the beautiful monarchs. Each leads another to an important part of the life cycle and provides more enjoyment than any video game or movie ever could.
I started with just two milkweed plants and now have over twelve plants. I have enjoyed large groups of monarchs each year and this year was exceptional as I was graced with the privilege of seeing the entire process from the egg to the caterpillar, cocoon and then full development.
Once I spotted the eggs, then the caterpillars and cocoons, I watched impatiently each day to see what would develop next. Although the process took time, I watched the sturdy cocoons battle winds and rain and remain strong until the glorious day when the monarchs appeared, first one and then another until all five had opened to life! At first the monarchs were quiet and then gained strength and finally when they deemed right, the first flight began and I could not contain my excitement. I felt as I did when my daughter was born-- thrilled, scared and proud! That beauty of nature chose my yard to forward life for the future.
"Save the Monarchs" was the battle cry and I took on that challenge. The payback to me was one of beautiful, mystic tears and elated joy! Something so small and fragile is yet the most beautiful thing you can imagine. I cannot wait until spring to see it all over again
-Story contributed by Nance T. through Milkweeds for Monarchs: The St. Louis Butterfly Project, a program of the City of St. Louis Mayor's Office.