At our February meeting Susie Vanderlip gave us an informative talk on Butterflies in the Garden. As well as a professional speaker she is a dancer and Yoga instructor for seniors testing her breathing exercises on our members! Author of the children's book, Chester the Monarch Butterfly, beautiful photographic greeting cards and Yoga DVD's were very popular items for sale following the program. Everyone received seeds for milkweed plants which is the host plant for the butterflies along with suggestions on starting a butterfly garden.
Plant your butterfly garden in a sunny location (5 to 6 hours a day) but sheltered from the winds. Provide water in the form of a bird bath or fountain. Feed the butterflies with Milkweed for the offspring and nectar plants for the adults. Suggestions were: Tropical and native Milkweed, Lantana, Butterfly Bush, Sage, Yarrow, Zinnia and Mustard Greens. The Milkweed attracts the Monarch which will then lay tiny white eggs on the leaves. These take 2 to 4 days for black, yellow and white banded caterpillars to appear on the Milkweed which they will feed on for about two weeks. The caterpillar will find an ingenious place to hang while becoming a chrysalis. It forms a bright green shell for two weeks before shedding this layer to become a glorious Monarch Butterfly. At this point some live 4 to six weeks, and others migrate and live a total of three to eight months. This was a wonderful program and we thank Susie for her enthusiasm, energy and love of these beautiful creatures. You can contact Susie at Susie@storyofchester.com or 714-997-2158