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As people in Oregon communities prepare their spring gardens, it is important to include plants to sustain and support the beautiful Western Monarch butterflies that are now winging their way north. These delicate insects are among the vital pollinators in our gardens. However, their numbers are declining.

The Monarchs are on their way to breeding grounds in California and Oregon from the warmth of their overwintering sites on California’s central coast. East of the Rocky Mountains, Monarchs are streaming up from the mountains of central Mexico in a larger and longer migration.

Alarmed by the declining butterfly population, an avid gardener in Portland, Ida Galash, has established a “Monarch Waystation” in her yard with plants to nurture the butterflies. She also is reaching out to people in other communities, especially home gardeners, for their support.

“I’m appealing to gardeners to help create a “Monarch Corridor” where people plant native Milkweed to sustain the butterflies throughout their long migration,” Ida said. “It is also important to include nectar plants like asters, zinnias, golden rod, sunflowers, as well as shrubs, yarrow and Echinacea, to support the butterflies from now into next fall, when the Monarchs will begin their migration south.”

“Gardeners should start planting soon, even in pots or flowerboxes, if space is limited,” Ida urged, “and be sure to include native Milkweed, where butterflies lay their eggs for the next generation. Without Milkweed there will be no Monarchs. The caterpillars hatch from the eggs, and for two weeks, ravenously eat the Milkweed, taking up the plants’ toxins, which provides the future adults a level of protection from predators.”

Monarchs are important pollinators and they need our help. Home gardeners can help to create a Monarch Corridor, by including plants that are essential to sustaining and increasing the Monarch population.

Gardeners can connect with Ida Galash by joining her Facebook group, Portland Monarchs, or by email: monarchcorridor@gmail.com

Also, this site is an excellent resource: https://monarchjointventure.org/

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