February’s Garden Club meeting featured the “Monarch Mommas,” Lynda Aker and Claudia Watson. Linda and Claudia met in a Master Gardener Club when they both first moved to Moore County and have been building gardens together ever since.
They created several large gardens featuring native plants and encouraging pollinators. Their special passion for the monarch butterfly has influenced their gardens, their lives and the lives of many of their friends. They went from hand-raising a few monarchs to last year’s record year of 450 monarchs.
Why so many? In 2019, they created the Flutterby Festival to educate the public on
monarch butterflies with exhibits, activities, music, and food. The main event is the
tagging and releasing of hundreds of monarchs to begin their migration to Mexico. You need
a lot of butterflies for this party.
The population of the migratory monarch butterfly has severely decreased in the last decade. Habitat loss and climate change are bringing down their numbers.
We can help boost the monarch population by building waystations including native milkweed: common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) and swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). For best results, buy from a local nursery or grow your own from seed. Eliminate pesticides and herbicides and fertilize organically.
There are many things that can go wrong, but monarch numbers edged up a little last year. Garden Club members enjoyed a great presentation with lots of information on improvements they can make to their gardens to help the monarch butterfly survive and thrive in Seven Lakes.