Monarchs hatch on milkweed plants in North America and then spend the winter in Mexico. Twenty years ago, there were at least a billion Monarchs in North America and now there are ninety-three million thanks to herbicides*. Shame on us.
Since we as humans are responsible for this loss we need to do something about it. First, stop spraying poisons! Second, save a little space to plant milkweed, which is the only plant that monarch caterpillars eat, and other native plants for nectar. If we all do a little bit it can make a big difference.
Many flowers are terrific sources of nectar for monarch butterflies. They include purple and yellow cone flowers, sunflowers, marigolds, poppies, daisies, verbena and many more. This is a good time to make definite plans for spring. My daughter, Dianne, has a butterfly garden each year that includes milkweed and native flowers.
* Source: “Late Migrations” by Margaret Renkl, New York Times contributor