Friday, June 27, 2014

Year of the Milkweed

I was very excited the other day to look out and see my poke milkweed was blooming!  I planted three last year, and none survived.  I put in three more this year, and of those, only one is still hanging in there, and is blooming!  I'm very excited.

Apparently the ants are pretty excited, too, for each flower had at least one ant on it!

Knowing that the butterfly weeds and common milkweeds were already blooming, too, I walked around the yard to see if any of my other milkweeds were surviving and blooming.  Things are not looking very promising.  No signs of any of the tall green milkweeds, but I did find one green milkweed (not tall green milkweed, just plain old ordinary green milkweed) had buds.  

On the corner of the house the swamp milkweed from two years ago is getting ready to bloom, too.  I think it's happy being by the downspout.

Out in the side yard, where I've planted several native grassland plants (in an area where grass has just not grown), I found only one sand milkweed still in the running (for some reason Blogger insists on turning the photo sideways).

And later, out in my wildflower bed that borders what was my vegetable garden (but this year is nothing but weeds weeds weeds), the whorled milkweed seems to be doing okay, too. 

Last year's purple milkweed (rare) and tall green milkweed, and last year's sand milkweed did not survive.  I was unable to get purple this year, and I hope the sand takes hold and does okay.  It looked like only one of the three I planted this year is still alive.

Why Year of the Milkweed?  Because monarchs are having a difficult time.  Numbers crashed last summer and over the winter, and anything we can do to help, which is mostly planting their host plants (milkweed) will help.  I have only seen a couple monarchs so far this's not looking good.  A co-worker found three eggs so died, but two are now chrysalises. 

Do what you can to help:  plant milkweed.


  1. Hi Ellen, I hope this is not a redundant comment from me. I just wrote one and I think it was swallowed up. At any rate, I just want to say that I have loved the posts about your
    Adirondack trip. I am an Adirondack ex-pat now living in the Chicago area. I had a camp near North Creek for many years and poured loving over all your photos and descriptions. I think we may have a friend in common in Evelyn G. of North Creek. I miss the wildflowers, the bogs, the creeks, the Hudson, the small towns and the lakes. I still have my Hornbeck canoe hanging in the garage just waiting for a small lake with a loon to glide through.
    Thanks for the tour of Tahawus. The last time I was there, it was just a ruin without any interpretation or stabilization. How great to see it again!

    I hope to explore the upper part of Michigan's lower peninsula later this summer to get a little whiff of the North Woods. I have not been there yet and will enjoy exploring.

    Thanks again,


  2. Hi, Caryl. We ADK-ex-pats must stick together! I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one homesick for the mountains and stuck here in the midwest. If you ever find yourself out Jackson way, stop by and we shall share memories!

  3. I haven't seen a single Monarch this year.