Why Garden for Monarchs?
Research has shown that the monarch population has declined over 80% in the last twenty years. Much of the monarch habitat has been removed for farming, shopping centers, neighborhoods, etc. Planting the essential host, milkweed, helps to ensure that the larval stage of this iconic butterfly will have food. A variety of nectar plants helps to support the adult population.
Gardening for monarchs has a greater value, though. When these kinds of plants are available, many other insects and wildlife are supported. A number of pollinators are also in decline due in part to habitat loss. Thoughtful plantings provide food, shelter, and nest building materials. A monarch garden is a garden for wildlife.
Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (BGO)
The BGO monarch waystation includes purple coneflowers and liatris (blazing star) which are both monarch favorites. Other important nectar plants include asters and zinnias.
Headquarters House Gardens
A lovely garden of swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is shown blooming in September at Headquarters House. Nectar plants included in the garden are brown-eyed Susans, zinnias, and purple coneflowers.
Shiloh Museum of Ozark History
Shiloh is one of several projects which have installed monarch waystations. The waystation at Shiloh features drifts of Joe Pye weed and black-eyed Susans. As is normally the situation, a monarch garden brings in all sorts of other beauties like the tiger swallowtail.
West Fork Gardens
In the West Fork Gardens, one of the principles of good butterfly gardening can be seen: masses of the same colored flower. Another important nectar feature is to have spring blooming plants like the rose verbena shown here (left). The gardens include the host plants swamp milkweed (A. incarnata) and butterfly weed (A. tuberosa).
Washington County Extension Office
One of the first monarch waystations to be created by Washington County Master Gardeners is the garden at the Extension Office. It features a variety of plants that are monarch favorites including old-fashioned zinnias. Other favorites in the garden include goldenrod and milkweed.
Arkansas Native Plant List
Arkansas Monarch Conservation Partnership List for Supporting Monarchs and Pollinators
Native Gardening for Arkansas Pollinators
Arkansas Monarch Conservation Partnership
Monarch Joint Venture
Gardening for Monarchs: Creating habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators