This past week there was an excellent article in the Miami Herald, written by Kenneth Setzer from Fairchild Tropical Garden. The article looks at the real dangers facing monarch butterflies, and how the loss of habitat, climate change, pesticide and the loss of host plants is affecting the current population. One statistic that stands out for me, of all the monarchs that overwinter in central Mexico today, the numbers represent only 10 percent of the average population size over the past 20 years.
I plant milkweed (the monarch’s favorite plant) throughout the garden. The writer tells us that Tropical milkweed (not a native), the one we buy in our local garden centers, may be hurting our butterflies. It has been found that the multi-generational feeding from the same plants is allowing a parasite that hurts the butterfly to accumulate at abnormal levels. The author recommends that we should eventually replace the tropical milkweed with native milkweed. For more information on what you can do to help the monarchs, visit the Xerces Society web site at www.xerces.org
THIS AND THAT AROUND THE GARDEN.
This weekend I trimmed the yellow cassia tree. This tree is one of my favorite trees, but I find that it might not be a good fit for my small garden.
Lunch time, a salad from the garden.
This Christmas cactus was a gift from a neighbor.