A&M Garden Club has been supporting and promoting the National Garden Clubs’ initiative/project to plant butterfly gardens, register butterfly gardens (under the Million Pollinator Project), and help schools and individuals to established Monarch Way Stations.
We held a Milkweed event last week at Lick Creek Park in College Station, TX, which was a great success. There were people lining up around the building to get in!!! Several varieties were offered, including:
Asclepias curassivica (“tropical milkweed”), A. asperula, (“Antelope Horns”)
A. viridis, (“Green Antelope Horns” or “Spider milkweed”)
A. tuberosa, (“Butterfly weed”) A. incarnata, (“swamp milkweed”)
and Gomphocarpus (Asclepias) physocarpus (Balloon Milkweed) – see Featured image at top of this post, plant growing in the wild three thousand miles from land on one of the Azores islands in the middle of the Atlantic!!! It is shown in the middle of the photo – look for the “balloons”!! I took this photo four years ago, and it took me almost that long to find where I had filed it!!!!
All of the above have slightly different cultural requirements. The original plan was to purchase plants from a wholesaler and sell them as a fundraiser, but the availability of mature plants was very limited, and those that were available were priced out of our budget. Hence the starting of many, many seeds! They are not all “native” to Texas; however, they have widely and successfully naturalized! Do your research before you buy!! Which is your favorite?
This seeding project started about 3 years ago, with several members taking some home to start. The Chairman of the “Butterfly Committee” did a wonderful job of coordinating, sowing and nurturing all these hundreds of plants; students from one of the Entomology classes at TAMU helped repot, and hours of love and care went into these tiny plants. We had some two-year old plants, but most were one year seedlings. One of them even had a tiny baby caterpillar on it; photos of the “event” were taken before the doors were opened!