The Leelanau Conservancy has created an official Monarch Waystation in downtown Leland to help Monarch butterflies make their annual migration from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico and California. A Monarch Waystation is a place that provides resources necessary for Monarchs to reproduce and feed.
Located in the Adelia Ball Morris Memorial Garden in the Leland Village Green, the waystation has four different species of milkweed host plants and seven different species of nectar plants. Brian Zimmerman of Four Season Nursery installed the garden and helped register it as a Monarch Waystation with Monarch Watch, a cooperative network of students, teachers, volunteers, and researchers dedicated to studying the Monarch butterfly.
To find out more about the garden and the efforts to help the Monarch, we talked with Becky Hill, the Natural Areas and Preserves Manager for the Leelanau Conservancy.
What inspired you to support this project?
We are so pleased that the north garden (Adelia Ball Morris Memorial Garden) on the Leland Village Green has been designated a Monarch Waystation. The Leland Village Green was preserved in 1990, and over the years, our Wildflower Rescue Committee has transplanted many native wildflowers into the garden beds. The Wildflower Rescue Committee is a group of dedicated volunteers that rescues wildflowers from lands that are being developed and sells them at an annual plant sale every Memorial Day Weekend on the Leland Village Green. Several of the garden beds at the Village Green were in need of a makeover. We hope to show gardeners that when they use native plants, they can have beautiful landscapes and play a vital role in protecting biodiversity. Native species of plants, insects, and wildlife form a complex network of relationships where each species’ life cycle is highly dependent on the others. For example, the milkweed plant is an essential host plant and food source for Monarch larva to develop into butterflies.
Are you planning a “grand reveal” for the garden?
We’re planning to have an informational sign installed sometime in April or May, definitely before the Memorial Day Weekend plant sale. We don’t have an event planned at this time, but I like the idea of having a garden “tour” or some kind of event later in the summer when the plants are in full bloom.
Do you expect to see an increase in Monarchs in the area?
I hope so!
Can the community help or become involved?
Absolutely! Anyone can choose native plants in their landscaping. Please stop by our Wildflower Rescue Sale at the Leland Village Green over Memorial Weekend to purchase rescued plants as well as an assortment of native plants from Four Season Nursery. There will be knowledgeable volunteers on site to help answer questions about what plants are best for Monarch habitat. You can also visit monarchwatch.org to learn how you can register your own garden and what the requirements are to have an official Monarch Waystation.
What are the seven species of nectar plants in the garden?
- Verbena (Verbena spp.)
- Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
- Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
- Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
- Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
- New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae)
- Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
There are also 4 species of milkweed:
- Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
- Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
- Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnate)
- Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)
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