Friday, November 14, 2014
The Monarch of the Plant Pot
Not people, oddly enough we dog walkers have a habit of getting out early, wandering late, and basically slinking around town at strange hours.
I've walked Rack at 4AM more than once.
The nature park nearby, M.E. DePalma park, was missing them.
My backyard was picked fairly clean.
Some of the spots where I was "guerilla" planting them hadn't taken either, or where they were they were eaten down to sticks.
You guessed it, my Mexican Milkweed is mostly absent.
I have a reputation of scattering Milkweed Seeds far and near, and when I find the seeds, that is exactly what I do. I remember these starbursts of silk floating on the breezes of my own childhood New Jersey Prairie that would land somewhere unseen from time to time. Here, they don't get a chance to get that far. The insects that I plant them for are much too hungry for them and are eating them down to nubs and sticks.
It's a cause and effect. Give a Monarch a home and it will eat the home. If there is no home, no Monarchs. That is why we plant the things anyway, for the Monarchs.
So whenever I find a seed pod on one of my plants, I watch over it. If it survives to ripen, I snatch it and put it in a plastic bag or immediately scatter them.
I'm on a cleaning binge and I found one of those bags hidden in my kitchen from a while ago. It had fallen behind the coffee maker on the counter, forgotten.
Walking out to the row of pots on the drip irrigation line that morning to plant the newly found seeds in the land, there was the culprit. It could have been called the guest, just as easily. A Monarch caterpillar climbing up the branch of the lone milkweed that had survived looking for a meal.
Mmm Tasty, Tasty Milkweed.
I vowed to watch over that creature and see where it went but I wasn't that lucky. It had its meal, then climbed into a sheltered spot. With luck it was undisturbed, even by me, and then flew off to grace another yard with it's beauty in Orange and Black.