With more and more land being developed for one purpose or another, and more farm land being put into production, pollinator habitat has been in decline. We've been restoring our 80 acre farm to native plants for some time now, and there have always been monarchs. Like many, however, we've noticed a decline in monarch presence over the last ten years. But this year we saw an increase in monarch activity.
For the first time in a long time our grove, made up of Norway Pine and Spruce trees, was full of monarchs. By full I mean thousands of them, all flitting about as one walked through the grove. They gathered and rested about two weeks before flying south on the grand migration to Mexico.
We have been growing wildflower and grass plugs in the greenhouse now for two years, and have been plugging them into existing prairies and into newer prairie plots. The advantage of beginning a prairie from plugs instead of seed is that we can design it , creating swaths of particular colors and transitioning into other colors.
One side note: Another activity of August is checking on prairies that we seeded in the last couple years to see how they're doing. It is always very satisfying to see a plot that has come in well. The photo below is of a woodland restoration that we seeded in the spring of 2016. Here we are, in its second summer of growth, showing a flush of Brown Eyed Susans and Blue Bells, two flowers that complement each other nicely.