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Sunday, June 06, 2010

Found Monarchs

At the Lost Bean, a coffee shop I like here in Tustin, I found some monarchs. Behind the red door, inside a little advertising kiosk thingy, Red Hill Elementary school has been raising milkweed and monarch butterflies to raise awareness of the need for monarch habitat (read: more milkweed for monarch breeding sites).

Behind the kiosk's glass were caterpillars getting ready to pupate, empty chrysalises, shed head capsules, several adult monarch butterflies awaiting their release and some tiny caterpillars just starting out on the milkweed plants growing in containers. The butterfly tenders from the school keep a tally board of caterpillars, chrysalises, and butterflies released.

Inside, while you're ordering your coffee drink or some tasty tea, you can pick up a packet of milkweed seeds for planting at your house. If you work at it, your garden or empty lot or parkway strip could become a certified monarch waystation.


Christine said...

Awesome! I love how it involves the schools, but also the community, too. How easy are milkweeds to start from seed? Could your average cuppa joe drinker have success with them?

vanessa cardui said...

The milkweed they are using is Asclepias curassavica. From my experience growing these from seed is like falling off a log . . . too easy. These milkweed typically seed themselves all over my yard. Other milkweeds may not be as easy, but well worth trying; native California species like A. californica, a. fascicularis, a. speciosa and a. cordifolia are on my personal Need to Plant List.