In the winter, I think about warmer weather and enjoying the scents and sounds in my garden, including the delicate flutter of butterflies. But there has been a sharp decline in monarchs over the last 20 years, and we want to help remedy that. Botanical Interests donates packets each year to National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) pollinator programs and partnered with the Pollinator Partnership to create our I Love Pollinators seed packet, the proceeds of which are donated to Pollinator Partnership.
My fascination with monarchs was even more deeply rooted when I had a magical experience at Natural Bridges State Beach Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve in Santa Cruz, California. Monarchs dripping from the swaying eucalyptus branches and fluttering over my head was a beautiful sight and felt otherworldly. Sowing butterfly-friendly varieties in my garden each year keeps that memory fresh.
One of the best group of plants to sow for monarch butterflies is milkweed--the only plant that the adult female monarch butterfly will lay eggs on, and the sole source of food for their larvae (caterpillars). I love the fiery, red-orange flowers of our Butterfly Flower Milkweed, the cool tones of our Irresistible Blend (swamp milkweed), and the robust, sweetly-scented flowers of Showy Milkweed, and Common Milkweed.
We hope that by growing milkweed and other butterfly-friendly varieties, including rudbeckia and dill, in our garden, as well as partnering with pollinator organizations, we can inspire other Botanical Interests gardeners to do a small part in their gardens, too. Together we can make a big difference in replenishing butterfly habitats.