The Birds and the Bees


| 11/21/2017 3:26:00 PM


It’s November on the Gulf Coast. The weather has finally cooled off and windows and doors are open to let in the fresh air. Hurricane cleanup continues. Life has settled down into a routine once again.

Here on the homestead, we’ve hatched out our annual batch of chicks, so the house is filled with peeps. It’s a month late, but that’s okay. We have 15 babies, five of which are roosters. We’ve begun socializing them, so every evening is play time. Hurricane or not, life on the homestead carries on.

One of the things we do every fall is make sure that pollinators are happy for the winter. When you mention pollinators, everyone generally thinks bees, but bees are only one of many. At our house, we have bees, yes, but we also have hummingbirds, butterflies, wasps, moths, and even bats. We try to accommodate for all of them.

decorated pot

Not necessarily the best pollinator, but she tries.
Photo by Sherry Smith

A fail-proof method of attracting butterflies to your garden is to plant milkweed. Milkweed is a host plant for the beautiful monarch butterfly, but it is an attractive garden flower, as well. Here on the coast, it is a hardy perennial, evergreen when we have particularly mild winters. We have milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) growing in our front yard and in our back yard. As a consequence, we always seem to have monarchs fluttering around, along with a myriad of other butterflies. I have one caution, though, with growing milkweed: it can be very invasive. It produces seedpods full of seeds that are reminiscent of dandelions with their fuzzy little parachutes carrying them far and wide. If you don’t want an entire yard full of milkweed, I would recommend snipping off the seedpods before they open.



butterfly

A beautiful monarch visiting the milkweed.
Photo by Sherry Smith



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