This year, MSHS is working with Save Our Monarchs to provide free milkweed seeds to up to 650 fairgoers. If you are not familiar with Save Our Monarchs, it is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization of gardeners who are concerned about monarch butterflies.
Destruction of habitat and other factors have led to a dramatic decline in monarch numbers. According to Save Our Monarchs, the number of monarchs is about half what it was just 10 years ago. Monarch caterpillars depend on one plant — milkweed — for their nourishment. Milkweed is a hardy plant, but mowing of ditches and more habitat put into housing and agriculture has resulted in less milkweed being available to monarchs. Gardeners can help by planting milkweed in their gardens. To assist, Save Our Monarchs distributes thousands of packets of seed to gardeners who want to grow milkweed.
This year, our MSHS Minnesota State Fair education booth has the theme of helping pollinators. You can learn all about bees, butterflies and other pollinators at the booth, which is located near The Dirt stage in the Agriculture/Horticulture building at the fair. We’ll be handing out free seeds during the fair (as long as supplies last) and would love to talk with other gardeners about how they are encouraging monarchs and other pollinators.
What plants do you plant for butterflies?