3 years ago I learned that the Monarch Butterfly of America was near to Extinction. I learned that the Milkweed was Exclusively Important for it's survival. It could get foods from other plants, but for some reason I had to have the Milkweed to Propogate. To lay its Eggs on. For its eggs to hatch, food for the Hatchling Caterpillars to eat (leaves) and strong stems to shelterself in a Krasillas (leaf Cacoon_ while it made its wonder metamorphos into the most Common and beautiful Butterfly in North America.
A few weeks later, I was visiting the Flint Hills near Cassidy, Kansas admiring the rolling hills of Ranchland of green valleys, thousands of feeder cattle and Reservation for the Wild Horses from Arizona where they needed Rescue from their ancient home that no longer wanted them. As I slowly drove down the Gravely trails and rutted roads, I noticed a beautiful Flower that liked to grow along the side of the roads and such. Full of Beautiful Monarchs gathering Nectar for food. I had to have a flower like that for GrandBobsGarden. I clipped a few stems and brought a few cuttings home that night to see If I could make them grow. Not being prepared, Not having the proper equipment, unfortunately; none survived.
I was determined to get some of these flowers and finally found someone who had a few seeds for me to try. As a result, they sprouted and I started to grow about 50 plants. (What would I do with 50 plants!). Well, I thought, there are people that love the Monarch Butterfly, Maybe they would like to hear about the Flower that I found in the Flint Hills. The one of nearly 150 species of Milkweed that had little or no Milk in its leaves or stems. It Could be seen for Miles with its Bright Orange Red Colors sprinkled over the vast prairie ranchland from Central Kansas and on East to the Missouri River where thousands of Angus and Hereford Cattle ranged and eventually ended up on Dining Tables from New York City to San Francisco and even exported to far away countries. I showed a few pictures on the net and found many friends who wanted some of these flowers, not just because they looked Beautiful in their Flower Beds but because the wanted to Help the Monarch Butterfly to have food and a place to lay their eggs, and to reproduce and survive. Their population was being Drastically Reduced by forest Fires in Mexico where the migrated to to overwinter to heavy spraying of Farmers and Ranches who seen them as pests in their fields and some variisdtys dangerous to their livestock - at least the varieties of Milkweed that had the Milky Latex in their leaves and stems. later, I learned that most Cattle and Horses etc. don't even Like Milkweeds. They eat them out of Hunger Desperation! The Variety that I liked "Asclepius tuberosa" did not have this resin in its leaves or stems. Commonly going by the name - Butterfly Milkweed. Please do not mix this up with the Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, and over 100 other types growing in North America and other parts of the world. The Monarch Butterfly Flower as I call it, has little or no toxin in its leaves or stem. Although I still call Caution around grazing livestock and small children. My Cats and dogs don't touch it. As I have heard the same results from other gardeners.
I call it the Monarch Butterfly Flower, since it is so popular to Flower Gardeners and Lovers of Butterflys! Many of my readers, it seemed, wanted to try some too for their Butterfly Gardens. I sold around 35 plants that first year. This year I sold close to 300 First Year Plants, and saved back about a hundred as Second Year Plants for next spring. I should have over 1000 Monarch Butterfly Plants next year along with a new crop of First Year Plants. I will also be introducing other Milkweed species that are Native to North America and add much variety and color. All of which the Monarch Butterfly and other Butterflies use for food and propagation of their species.
This Blog post is the First in a Series of Blog Posts about the Monarch Butterfly Flower. How to get Live plants from my Garden , How to Grow them. Flower Pests and how to control them easy. And tips on starting a Butterfly Garden of your own! Contact me on Facebook. Robert Mader or on my Facebook Page. "Home of the Kansas Monarch Butterfly Flower." Thank you for your visit. Comments are very welcome here and I try to personally answer everyone as I get them. I am also available on Facebook "Chat" every day and evening mostly.