You may have recently seen articles or posts about the monarch butterfly being recognized as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This listing will hopefully bring more awareness to the perils that face the monarch. However, it is important to note that this listing by the IUCN DOES NOT mean that the monarch butterfly has been added to the U.S. Endangered species list. What does this mean? It means that the monarch and its habitat are not legally protected like other species that are listed as federally endangered. What can you do? Planting milkweed will help to provide food for monarch caterpillars; milkweed (Asclepias) species are the only food source for the caterpillars of this species. However, the adult butterflies also need food throughout the seasons, so planting other nectar-rich plant species, in addition to milkweed, will ensure that you are providing much needed food for the species in all of it’s life stages! Native plants like asters, goldenrods, wild bergamot, culver’s root, boneset, penstemon, blazingstar, and joe pye (to name a few) are all great nectar plants for migrating monarchs.
We now have Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea) in stock! We also still have plenty of Eastern Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata var. pulchra). In addition to milkweeds, we still have lots of nectar plants mentioned above, like New England Aster, White Wood Aster, Showy Goldenrod, Zig-Zag goldenrod, Culver’s root, Foxglove Beardtonge, Boneset, and Wild Bergamot. Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), Dense Blazingstar (Liatris spicata) and Coastal Joe Pye (Eutrochium dubium) should be ready soon.
Bales of long-leaf pine straw, which can be used to mulch your new and existing garden spaces, are still available. Each bale covers roughly 40 square feet at 2.5 inches deep. If you’re used to using wood mulch, another good conversion is 3 bales of pine straw covers roughly the same area as 1 cubic yard of wood mulch. Pine straw, when used as a mulch has a nice natural look to it. I find that it looks even more natural and established as leaves fall onto it, which tends to make wood mulched areas look a bit on the messy side. Pine straw bales are priced at $17 each, including NJ sales tax.
Images show below include Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) here on our property this year.