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Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
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Meredith79
Jul 23, 2014 9:11 PM CST
This is my second year in a row I have not had a Monarch in my yard during the average time their journey north brings them through these parts. Only a few years ago I had so many I was running out of milkweed for all the caterpillars. Last year I saw one, only one day in fall on a Button Blazing Star. The 2 years prior the same plants were covered in Monarchs in fall. It was an amazing sight. I am really starting to fear the Monarchs may not make it to my neck of the woods anymore.
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
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mellielong
Jul 23, 2014 11:10 PM CST

Moderator

We established in the monthly butterfly thread that I am currently hoarding all the butterflies down here in Florida. But seriously, a lot of people have reported that it's been a less than stellar year for butterflies of all sorts. I'm thinking maybe that Polar Vortex had something to do with it? We had a really mild winter in Florida this year and the Monarchs never stopped breeding. They slowed down a little over the past two months because they had to wait for my milkweed to recover but now that that's happening they're starting to show up again in greater numbers.
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Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Catmint20906
Jul 24, 2014 5:17 AM CST
I agree Yes, definitely less than stellar here as well! And we got hit by that polar vortex pretty hard. Only one monarch sighting in my yard so far this season and only one Eastern Tiger Swallowtail! Sad
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Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
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Meredith79
Jul 24, 2014 12:10 PM CST
Thanks for the input! I have lots of Tiger Swallowtails and Frits. I just went out for a minute and saw a TST and a Fritillary. Lots of skippers and I have Black Swallowtail cats and I have seen the adults but they seem to hide much more than other butterflies. I also see Red Spotted Purples and usually I see a Spicebush on occasion but it is hard to tell when the flit by quickly since Black Form TSTs, Red Spotted Purples and Black Swallowtails all look similar if they go by too quickly to get a good look at!
I am so sad to not have Monarchs! I have heard a lot of bad news for them and I am afraid it really is causing their decline. Hope I am worrying for nothing and it is just a natural decrease but I can't help but worry.
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Aug 4, 2014 10:30 PM CST
Last year I saw many monarchs as well as an over abundance of other butterfly species, saw 15 red admirals on a tree at once, it was unheard of until the warm winter we had 2013 not to mention 2013 had a record high summer we reached 105F out of the sun 3 days, in sun 110F! This past winter was our harshest we had a day of -10 and other below zero that's a record usually its 5-10F. Not one monarch this year and only saw a handful of butterflies.
[Last edited by keithp2012 - Aug 4, 2014 10:32 PM (+)]
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Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
Region: New Hampshire Cat Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Keeper of Poultry Roses
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Meredith79
Aug 6, 2014 7:04 AM CST
That's too bad! I feel like I had a year with few butterflies here after a very harsh winter. This past winter we had a lot of snow, but the temps didn't drop down below freezing more than once which is pretty normal for here. I remember not too long a go we had a winter that we were 12 below zero for a week at one point.
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Aug 6, 2014 1:24 PM CST
I'm growing 3 kinds of milkweed, butterfly weed 'gay butterflies', swamp milkweed, and the rare and native green milkweed. The swamp and butterfly weed are next to eachother, wonder if they can hybridize flowers are identical except color.
Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
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Meredith79
Aug 6, 2014 6:38 PM CST
I wonder the same thing! It would be cool if my tropical milkweed crossed with my swamp milkweed and made a hybrid that was more drought tolerant than the swamp milkweed, yet as hardy as it. That's what I need! However you would have to probably hand pollinate all of it and try to grow out so many plants to find one that I wouldn't have the room here!
Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
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Meredith79
Aug 6, 2014 6:39 PM CST
Oh I know that Asclepias purpurea and common A. syrica hybridize..
Ventura County CA (Zone 10a)
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arapaho415
Aug 19, 2014 8:53 PM CST
From the west coast...

I just joined AllThingsPlants today because I had a question about Rock Purslane on the cactus and tender succulents thread (which was answered, yay).

I also just recently started gardening, and on a whim bought a milkweed plant about a month ago. I got really excited when I saw a couple of Monarch caterpillars on the plant. I hadn't seen any Monarch butterflies, so I figured the eggs must have already been on the plant.

I bought a couple more plants (from a different nursery). I didn't realize until the next day that one plant had a hanging J caterpillar.

I've had quite a few caterpillars over the last three weeks, and I see Monarch butterflies every day. Now the original plant has eggs on nearly every leaf.

Sad to say, these eggs won't become butterflies because all the local nurseries are out of milkweed.

Both nurseries had tons of Monarchs flying around, and a person who worked at the second nursery said that there were more butterflies this year than ever before.

I had a twitter conversation with someone from Texas who thought I was crazy to buy Milkweed because it's an invasive pest there. However, I'm in coastal southern California, where it hasn't rained in months and every uncultivated non-shrub/tree are dead/dying, including weeds, so I can't just find a roadside plant to feed the eggs that will soon be hatching from my one remaining Milkweed that still has foliage.
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
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keithp2012
Aug 19, 2014 11:02 PM CST
arapaho415 said:From the west coast...

I just joined AllThingsPlants today because I had a question about Rock Purslane on the cactus and tender succulents thread (which was answered, yay).

I also just recently started gardening, and on a whim bought a milkweed plant about a month ago. I got really excited when I saw a couple of Monarch caterpillars on the plant. I hadn't seen any Monarch butterflies, so I figured the eggs must have already been on the plant.

I bought a couple more plants (from a different nursery). I didn't realize until the next day that one plant had a hanging J caterpillar.

I've had quite a few caterpillars over the last three weeks, and I see Monarch butterflies every day. Now the original plant has eggs on nearly every leaf.

Sad to say, these eggs won't become butterflies because all the local nurseries are out of milkweed.

Both nurseries had tons of Monarchs flying around, and a person who worked at the second nursery said that there were more butterflies this year than ever before.

I had a twitter conversation with someone from Texas who thought I was crazy to buy Milkweed because it's an invasive pest there. However, I'm in coastal southern California, where it hasn't rained in months and every uncultivated non-shrub/tree are dead/dying, including weeds, so I can't just find a roadside plant to feed the eggs that will soon be hatching from my one remaining Milkweed that still has foliage.

You should be able to buy milkweed plants online almost anywhere like amazon or ebay and this monarch website http://www.monarchwatch.org
Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
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Meredith79
Aug 20, 2014 8:07 AM CST
You are one of the lucky ones.
Shortly after posting this I saw this chart.
Thumb of 2014-08-20/Meredith79/9e0146

Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
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Gleni
Aug 20, 2014 4:31 PM CST
Meredith, it is not a nice bar chart. Crying
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Aug 20, 2014 7:04 PM CST
Have to agree with Glen -- hope it's just a natural cycle of some sort!! Sad
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Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
Region: New Hampshire Cat Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Keeper of Poultry Roses
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Meredith79
Aug 21, 2014 6:08 AM CST
From Monarch Watch
The decline has been attributed to three main factors: 1) the widespread adoption of herbicide tolerant corn and soybean varieties by North American farmers which has had the effect of eliminating milkweeds (the host plants for monarchs) within the crop fields; 2) the ethanol mandate passed by Congress in 2007 that increased the price of corn and soybeans which in turn led to the conversion of grasslands to crops thus elimination of the milkweeds that occurred in these areas; and 3) three consecutive years during which the reproductive success of the summer breeding population was limited by unfavorable weather conditions. The loss of habitat, i.e. milkweed and nectar plants that sustain the monarch population, is massive yet can be mitigated. In the paragraphs below I will briefly outline a vision and goals for monarch recovery and will describe the infrastructure, resources and partnerships needed to implement this recovery plan.

http://monarchwatch.org/blog/
Name: Karin
Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
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nh4me
Sep 2, 2014 4:37 PM CST
I live in central Massachusetts on 11 acres out in farm country. I have a field that I purposely left uncut for the past two years because I knew it was filled with milkweed and I knew that there were problems with the Monarch population. I am distressed to say that I have not found a single Monarch in the last two years! I grew up in this area and have fond memories of finding Monarch caterpillars and raising them up in a glass jar until they hatched and were let go to fly free once they were able to. I guess I can only hope that next year might be better.
Life is short, enjoy the ride!
Name: Jeanie
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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foraygardengirl
Sep 4, 2014 1:03 PM CST
I have seen about half a dozen Monarchs in my yard this summer, lots of Red Admirals and swallowtails. Until two years ago, I generally saw lots of butterflies, including Monarchs, every day. Last year I saw no butterflies at all for the entire summer-very distressing-even though I have coneflowers, Joe Pye, several varieties of agastache, and other butterfly-attracting plants in my yard. So last summer I added several butterfly weed plants to my gardens. I think it is very clear that the population is declining. We gardeners are in a position to help, and I hope that we all do our part.
The bee population seems to have rebounded. There were few last year, but my yard has been buzzing like crazy this summer.
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Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
Region: New Hampshire Cat Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Keeper of Poultry Roses
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Meredith79
Sep 5, 2014 4:58 PM CST
I have received e-mails from Monarch Watch and they seem to have a positive outlook on this coming southern migration being larger than last year. Although last year was the lowest it's ever been this is much better than no increase at all!
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Catmint20906
Sep 5, 2014 5:05 PM CST
I have 5 Monarch cats right now. I found 3 as eggs on my milkweed, and the other two I found as small caterpillars. One just formed his chrysalis today, and 3 others are getting ready, beginning to weave their thread attachments. The last one looks huge so I'm sure he'll join them soon! Smiling

I also have one BST cat in the ready-to-pupate position, and another small one that I just found yesterday on my fennel.

These are small numbers from my own yard, but the people I'm working with in Annapolis and VA say they're pleased with the numbers of Monarch eggs and cats they're finding. So, this is all hopeful--a step in the right direction at least.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
Region: New Hampshire Cat Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Keeper of Poultry Roses
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Meredith79
Sep 27, 2014 7:14 PM CST
I am happy to see some Monarchs finally! Although I did not have any during the journey North I have had a few stopping in to nectar on my button blazing stars that they love. They pick it over New England Aster that's blooming right next to it. Hopefully more make it through the winter this year and I will get lucky enough to have some here in spring.
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