Do you want to help save the monarch butterfly, but don't know where to get started? You've come to the right place!
The garden plan below offers a diversity of native plants that will create an explosion of life, color, and most importantly, BUTTERFLIES in your very own yard! Two varieties of milkweed provide an essential food source for monarch caterpillars, and the profusion of blooms throughout the summer will provide a high quality nectar source for hundreds of local pollinators. Not only is this garden beautiful, it's a highly functional addition to any property. Your landscape can help save the monarch, and it can also become a crucial connection and resource in our local ecosystem/habitat...How cool is that!
These gardens should be sited in full sun locations, with well drained soils, but do consider that many of these species are commonly found in rain gardens and the layout and installation can be adjusted to accommodate such an application.
INSTRUCTIONS (spring - or - fall installation)
- Simply form the garden bed by removing the turf (assuming there are little to no existing weeds in proposed location), and top dress with an inch of quality compost.
- DO NOT ROTOTILL! - You'll destroy soil structure and encourage weeds to germinate.
- Lay out the plant material while still in their one gallon pots. This will be a dense planting, so do not be concerned if spacing seems tight.
- Once the plants are laid out to your liking, pull the plants from the one gallon containers and gently break up the roots before placing in the ground. Gently tuck in soil around the plants to fill any air gaps.
- Mulch the new planting bed with 1-2" of mulch, but keep the mulch away from the base of all plant material. This is to retain moisture and suppress weeds as the plants get established in the first year. Excess wood mulch around the base of perennials causes overheating, and rotting of the plants essential crown. Mulch will not be necessary in subsequent years.
- Water in the new plant material by targeting all plants, but also getting good coverage on the garden as a whole (think rain!) Before watering, feel the soil under the mulch to determine need and frequency. A wrung out sponge is a good benchmark for ideal moisture levels.
- Use a dutch hoe to routinely knock down weeds as they emerge throughout the season.
- Leave the dry/dead plant stems and flower heads up all winter, and cut back each spring. Finely chop all the debris and keep in the garden as a mulch/organic material layer!
- No additional inputs (fertilizers) will be required moving forward.
- By year three, you'll have a monarch masterpiece on your hands!
We're here to help you make it happen, otherwise, give it a shot on your own! Either way, get those plants in the ground and you'll be well on your way to experiencing the power of native plants.
All plant material can be purchased through the Barrington Area Conservation Trust or please contact Ringers for pricing on a fully installed garden.