October Gardening Tips

From Mélie’s Garden 2013

I hope you found Joe Henderson’s article on Asian plants invading Fishers Island as interesting as I did. Everyone should try to keep these plants under control, which is not an easy task, but worth the effort.

Another disturbing event on the Island, is the how few Monarch Butterflies were seen this year. This is not just a problem for Fishers Island, but the whole country. Monarchs on the East Coast migrate from Mexico to Canada in the spring and back again to Mexico in the fall, some stopping at Fishers Island along the way. Dr. Karen Oberhauser of the University of Minnesota’s Monarch Larva Monitoring Program says, “We’re about 20 to 30% of our average since migration depends on a long chain of habitat that is being removed from the landscape by over development, the use of chemicals and extreme weather changes.” Milkweed is the primary host plant for Monarchs to lay eggs in and it provides nectar for other butterflies and bees as well. Its removal from the landscape is doing great harm.

We can help by planting Milkweeds and other nectar source plants like Joe Pie Weed, Golden Rod, Asters, Liatris, Ironweed and many plants from the daisy family. You can Google – Monarch Joint Venture and visit the University of Minnesota’s informative website. The Milkweed plants we should cultivate in the North East are the following:

  • monarchLarvaCommon Milkweed – asclepias syriaca
  • Swamp Milkweed – asclepias incarnate
  • Butterfly Weed – asclepias tuberosa
  • Whorled Milkweed – asclepias verticillata
  • Poke Milkweed – asclepias exalta

The new meadows that people are planting on the Island are a wonderful start to this project. There are a number of annuals and perennials that also attract butterflies and bees, so try to incorporate those plants in your gardens as well next year.

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