Soon after I first saw them, the monarch caterpillars disappeared off the milkweed in my yard. Oleander aphids (Aphis nerii) soon took their place.
Tag Archives: Asclepias syriaca
Attracting Monarchs in the City
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) population has been declining precipitously, in large part because the milkweed plants that the monarch caterpillars feed on are being destroyed. A number of organizations have encouraged the public to grow milkweed in their yards to offset some of this destruction.
On a November’s day walk through a Southborough field, we collected a few milkweed pods that hadn’t yet released their seeds. I separated the seeds from the cotton and placed the seeds in the refrigerator for a few months.
In mid-March, I removed the seeds and soaked them in warm water, planting them in a biodegradable tray. It took a while for the seeds to sprout. Perhaps they were waiting for warmer temperatures (our house is rather cool during the winter). The seedlings were up by May and I planted them outdoors on May 6.
New Hampshire’s Lupine Festival
June heralds the blooming of lupines in New Hampshire, and we headed up to Sugar Hill for the 20th Annual Fields of Lupine Festival. The two-week-long festival features parades, open houses, markets, and concerts, but none of these events were scheduled on the day of our visit.
We first stopped at Polly’s Pancake Parlor for a delicious brunch. I, of course, marvelled at the red oak just outside the restaurant that had been planted by Lucy Hildreth and Wilfred Dexter on their wedding day, the 24th of May, 1899. Over a hundred years old, this oak still stands strong.