|Butterfly Weed is a cousin to milkweed.|
Each one is essential for Monarch butterfly reproduction.
|We used to find milkweed everywhere on out the farm,|
now the seeds are sold commercially to support Monarchs.
If possible, I buy plants instead of seeds, locally instead of on the Net. The plants that arrive from the Net tend to be dried out.
Butterfly Weed arrived as barerooted, surrounded by loose soil. That is why I leave the wheelbarrow out, to catch rainwater and provide a great soaking area.
I put the plants into the wheelbarrow to soak for almost an hour. More time soaking would have been better. I did not use the rainbarrels, because I imagined the plants soaking up water and dropping to the bottom of large barrels filled with very cold water. However, rainbarrels are ideal for soaking bare root roses for several hours before planting.
I had a pot of garlic chives, so I soaked and planted them. Garlic chives spread in the rose bed, so they are ideal companion plants. They can be cut and used in salads, cooking, and soups. I find them even easier to grow than garlic bulbs and fun to watch spreading under the mulch layer.
The praying mantis egg cases arrived all at once. We have a long history with them. I hatched them in Midland, Michigan. Little Ichabod kept one fed at work, with everyone feeding the insect with bugs.
They are difficult to find later in the season, so I ordered them early. The cases look like foam the size of a grape. We were discussing them on the way to the Saturday Morning Meeting, so LI was glad to take some cases home. Our granddaughter, always an animal lover, wanted to get something for the hatchlings to live in - on the way home.
We kid her about "You can't hug every cat," a bio parody that someone turned into a little music. I love mantids with their little bow ties, I want to hug every one of them.