The Backyard

The Backyard

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Milkweed in the Garden

Like most people, for years I thought of milkweed as just that -- a weed. It wasn't until I became a little more educated on plants, bugs, and butterflies and how they all work together as a team that I come to the realization that many "weeds" can be perfect garden plants. The milkweed a good example -- a monarch butterfly can't live without milkweed, so why not grow it? Its certainly easy enough to grow -- why not in the garden? One thing you need for it is space. There are some varieties that stay semi-compact such as the popular orange butterfly weed (asclepias tuberosa) which stays between 1.5 and 2 feet tall in a fairly nice mound. Then there's the classic common milkweed which is the familiar site along most roadways. There are actually over 100 varieties of milkweeds, each with varied growing habits - some getting as tall as 6 feet (in the picture above near my front door!) with colorful flowers in orange, yellow, pink, or white. The scent of the flowers are incredible too attracting bees and nectar loving creatures to your garden. Its also an interesting plant to get kids involved in gardening and nature. This cool Wisconsin state website called EEK (Environmental Education for Kids) provides facts about the plant and nature that kids will find fascinating (adults will too!). Milkweed is part of the arsenal of native plants that every organic gardener should have in their garden.


Clockwinder said...

I love your photo of milkweed in your garden and would like to use it in a book I'm writing on monarchs and milkweed to be distributed free to teachers. If interested, let me know and I'll send you a link to the PDF. The sunflower photo is incredible, did you also take that?

Denny Curtin

Chili said...

All photos are the work of my dear hubby who loves taking bunches of pictures. Sometimes I take some (like the sunflower photo and the doorway milkweed), but most times its his handywork. Yes, you may use the photos.

Roberta said...

Hello Chili! I think planting milkweed is a great idea, I may give it a try. I included a link to your post on my green ninja site in my post about insects. Your sunflower photo at the top IS AWESOME, it almost looks like a painting!