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Monarch Summer

Posted by butterflymomok 7a NE OK (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 24, 13 at 9:37

It has been a Monarch Summer here this year. A female Monarch left me a dozen eggs yesterday. I had just released my last 8 butterflies the day before. There were only two females in that batch. But, this was a different female, as she was one of the largest females I've seen. So, with this new bunch of eggs, this makes 5 generations of Monarchs, or 5 broods that I will have raised this year. I am hoping she comes back and leaves more eggs today. She was scared away from her task by one of my resident male Monarchs that patrol the backyard looking for females. They attack everything that has wings, including going after the hummingbirds. The males have hung out for over a month.

The Monarchs should start gathering in the yard in preparation for the migration south. It's been a different summer here with all the rain and below normal temps. We are back in the 90s, but had a surprise shower yesterday--about an inch fell. The mosquitoes are huge and hungry. The Tropical Milkweed is lush with new growth. Hoping for a great showing this fall.

Sandy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Monarch Summer

'Sounds wonderful, Sandy, except for the mosquitoes, that is! I sure hope the monarchs that have been born in the U.S.A. this year will overwinter successfully in Mexico!

Sherry


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RE: Monarch Summer

Sandy,
I would like to ask if/when you cut back your tropical in preparation for the fall monarch migration?

By the end of summer, all my tropical have only a few leaves remaining at the top of each stalk. In past years, the blooms were used by all variety of butterflies for the nectar so I left them alone. I've settled on growing more Pentas and Lantana, so nectar is more readily available now.

So far, Oscar is still my best bet for nice milkweed leaf for fall (for me, A incarnata is useless by this time of year).

FYI: if you haven't already responded, wonky, over on the adopt a milkweed newbie thread has been attempting to email you through gardenweb.

Mary


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RE: Monarch Summer

Mary,

I cut it back when I was feeding the masses of butterflies earlier in the summer. I've never done that before, but it had to be done. It was in July. It has helped to have all the rain this summer. This plant loves moisture. I'll email Wonky back. I just have been too busy lately to stop.

Sandy


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RE: Monarch Summer

Thanks, Sandy,

I'm going to put a note on my calendar to try that next year and see if I have better leaf growth on the tropical milkweed.

Not to worry regarding wonky. Several of us re assured her that you were either busy or perhaps away from home. I'd forgotten just how busy you were with the little cats. Raising as many as you had does require a lot of time (but time well spent! :-)

Mary


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RE: Monarch Summer

Thanks, Mary. I've been mowing and mowing and mowing this summer. With all the rains, I mow more than once a week. Between the acreage and here, I have 3+ acres to mow. And this week I sprayed the poison ivy which is enjoying the rains as well. I'm highly allergic so had to get rid of it.

I sent Wonky an email after I got off of here this morning. I hope to have quite a few varieties for her--waiting for some of the seed pods to mature. I had sent out a package to a teacher that posted on here last spring, and the package came back as undeliverable. I had the right address and postage, so don't know what the problem was. But I've kept those seeds and will add to them.

Have lots of gardening to do this fall--sow a half-acre plot with wildflower seeds, plant blueberries and blackberries as well as some fruit trees and shade trees at the acreage, and plant the butterfly garden. Son will be staying there while he builds a house. Hubby got the already-dug vegetable garden weeded which was a big help. Hurt my back and was going to PT for several weeks. I am better now. Have 3 butterfly presentations to do this September--so getting slideshow updated and tweaking for the different audiences. It's nice to be retired, LOL.

Sandy


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RE: Monarch Summer

Sandy,

Whew, where do you find the energy! I hope you have a riding lawn mower!

Speaking of blackberry plants. I'm sure you probably already know this but if you can't contain them by placing retainer walls of some sort deep into the ground to border the blackberry patch, you may be fighting blackberry plants the rest of your life. The prior owner of my property planted a blackberry plant near the back fence line and I've been fighting blackberry plants ever since we purchased this property. They put down deep runners that come up everywhere. I've cut them back for what seemed like hundreds of times but they've traveled so far underground now they're coming up in the neighbors lawns, all over my garden beds and my lawn. I finally bought brush killer and have been applying it this year. I thought, using the brush killer, I had the runners under control but lo and behold, there are many young plants coming up again in the lawn and garden beds. They grow so deep in ground they can't be dug out. So back to the brush killer for another round. I hate handling stuff so potent but trying other means of control just hasn't worked. This time I'm applying full strength by cutting each cane and brushing the cut with full strength brush killer. I have never encountered a plant so determined to spread. I've no idea what the name of this blackberry plant is and there may be new types that don't run. If so, please be sure you plant those :-)

Mary


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RE: Monarch Summer

Sandy - keep me posted on your presentations!

I have continued to find sporadic Monach eggs and cats - never a huge quantity at one time, but just today I found a cat and two eggs.

I also discovered that the gulf fritillaries left me eggs as I'm finding cats everywhere. Today I witnessed a variegated frit leaving me eggs as well.

I've gone back to work for the school year so my time in the garden is now limited.

~Laura


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RE: Monarch Summer

Mary,

Thanks for the info. I am having the same problem with passion vine. It has spread all over the garden, up the trees, across the buddleias, and even into the neighbor's yard. It has become a monster. I am going to have to kill it out and start over with growing it in a tree pot sunk in the ground.

There is actually lots of room for the blackberries to spread at the acreage. But, hopefully I have a non-invasive variety. I am planting Triple Crown which was recommended by someone who lives in the area. At home I have Arapaho (I think) which is thornless. However, it hasn't done very well. I think it's the neighbor's Wild Cherry tree that may be interfering with the root system. So, I will probably dig up what is still alive and move it as well.

Yes, I have riding mowers--one at each location, thank goodness.

Laura, I read about your cats and the mosquito spraying. I was afraid when I heard they were going to spray in Tulsa that it would get a lot of larvae. Thankfully they don't spray in the county. Glad to hear you are finding a few caterpillars. I haven't really seen any Gulf Frit cats around, but I see the butterflies. I did see a Variegated Frit this week, and I found eggs. She was a huge VF. I've been leaving most everything to survive as best can, except for the Monarchs. If I can help out in anyway, let me know. I well remember working and raising caterpillars! Brought them up to school and let the kids help me. Had to take them home on weekends.

Sandy


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RE: Monarch Summer

More eggs! I found 37 eggs and 2 caterpillars this evening. I didn't get to check all the milkweed so will do so tomorrow morning. She laid the eggs on the milkweed that gets the afternoon shade! Glad the males didn't chase her away. Looks like the fall movement is beginning.


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RE: Monarch Summer

52 eggs today.


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RE: Monarch Summer

Butterflymonk,
What a bonanza! Will you be able to raise all of those yourself? Or will you get help? Either way, good luck and congratulations.

Martha


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RE: Monarch Summer

Thanks, Martha. Most likely I will be sharing if more come along. I have teachers and friends that will definitely help out.

Sandy


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RE: Monarch Summer

It's been my gulf fritillary summer! My gardens just about dance with orange flutters when I look across them!

My passionvine is a monster as well, but I was grateful it was this year. I have a couple of different types. The cats ate one grouping down to the nubbins. The p. caerulea is still growing and growing and growing though! I transferred a bunch of the cats over there and they haven't even made a dent yet.

I'll be on the lookout for the monarchs. I haven't seen any yet.


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