Yesterday, I had the incredible opportunity to speak about monarch butterflies, pollinators, and native plants at the Gardener’s Studio at the Philadelphia Flower Show! The incredible audience was very receptive and excited to bring home materials that would help attract pollinators to their home gardens. With the support of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, we were able to share the story of the monarch butterfly with nearly 300 people.
After explaining how monarchs and pollinators are essential to our agricultural crops, flowers, and ecosystems, participants in the audience dove at the opportunity to create seed balls and bee bundles to take and use at home. Gardener Studio attendees made about 250 seed balls, containing Pennsylvania native wildflower seeds, which will contribute to the restoration of pollinator habitat. Throwing the seed balls into a sunny spot is all it takes, no maintenance required! This hands-on activity was a hit, especially with kids that wanted to get a little messy.
Bee bundles were constructed by cutting up sections of Japanese Knotweed, an invasive plant, and tying several sections together. The plant stems contain diaphragms that allow solitary bees, like the mason bee, to burrow in for shelter. Hanging the bee bundles near the garden encourages bees to linger and pollinate garden vegetables and flowers. Re-purposing the invasive knotweed was another great opportunity to discuss the importance of native plants to our local wildlife.
The audience had so many great questions about the monarch life cycle and great migration. They were eager to learn how to help out these beautiful butterflies and we quickly distributed 200 packets of common milkweed seeds, the monarch’s host plant. I had a blast sharing the story of the monarch with others, and I was lucky enough to visit the National Park exhibits and Butterflies Live after the presentation!
Click here to learn more about the monarch butterfly and what you can do to protect this iconic species.