Monday, November 21, 2011

The Stragglers

I still have a number of straggler monarchs hanging out at my suburban prairie. 

Since my prairie has escaped hard frosts, so far, the monarchs are enjoying the abundant nectar sources. Their favorites right now are the Gregg's Mistflower and the Mealycup Sage.

These three were kind enough to pose in front of my Monarch Waystation sign.

It is hard to know if new arrivals are coming in or if the same monarchs just refuse to leave. I imagine the migration was difficult this year due to the drought. There were fewer flowers along the way and it will not get any better between here and their winter grounds in Mexico. Maybe these guys think they are in paradise and have decided to end their journey here with a full belly.

I suppose this could pass as a butterfly's paradise. I must say that I am pretty happy with it myself.


  1. A friend and I were at a nursery the other day and saw some Monarchs feeding on the flowers and we commented that they were running late. We told them they better get a move on or they'd miss the party in Mexico. It's nice that you have provided a meal for these Monarch-come-lately's :-) Hope you're getting some of this rain tonight!!! Wonderful!

  2. Great pictures, getting camera shy monarchs to pose is quite an accomplishment.

    Your garden looks beautiful for November. I'm working my way through your plant list by adding Pine muhly and mistflower this week. We're quite a bit warmer here so they still have time.

  3. Hey i just found your blog thanks to Scott's Rhone garden blog. I love the way you keep your garden and I'm coming back to understand how to drag all those butterflies in the garden!


  4. It does look like a butterfly's paradise. Just beautiful. I wonder if the butterflies know when to leave so they don't get stuck in a freeze. I'm certain they appreciate the feast on their travels!

  5. It's so great there are still some stragglers around! Sadly, I don't think they ever do make it over to PDX...sigh. I think I would choose the Mistflower to hang around as well!

  6. Yeah I saw a lone monarch about the 14th and was shocked. It must be one of the ones you the mist flower.

  7. Toni, maybe these monarchs are just fashionably late to the party in Mexico. I hope they make it. I did get some rain last night. It sounds like we may get some more later this week.

    Thanks Shirley. The pine muhly and mistflower will be great additions to your garden.

    Welcome, Alberto. If you plant the right plants, the butterflies will come. No dragging required. Be sure to include plants for the caterpillars too. I think your blog and garden are interesting. You have many American prairie grasses and flowers in your Italian garden.

    Thanks HolleyGarden. I am starting to wonder if the monarchs think they are closer to Mexico than they are. I wonder if having south Texas plants like Gregg’s Mistflower confuses them.

    Scott, it may not be a good thing that the stragglers are still hanging out. We are due a freeze at anytime and it will surely wipe out the flowers. You may not have monarchs, but I am sure you have some other butterfly that we would be jealous of here in Texas.

    Greggo, it would be interesting if a monarch from your Kansas garden found its way to my Texas garden. You need to get some mistflower since you share the same name.

  8. I'm sure your post is doing lots to help the monarchs and our other butterflies, moths, birds and other wildlife by encouraging people to plant native plants.

    Monarchs are having to travel 1000 miles through extreme drought conditions and expectations are to have very few monarchs make it back to lay eggs next spring. The little islands of watered gardens will keep a few more of them alive to come back next spring.

    The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's database lists 11 species of mistflower - they come in blue and white versions and all are important nectar sources.

    After seeing a large patch of Gregg's mistflowr in the San Antonio Botanical, I planted a starter patch (about 12 X 12') of them in my garden near Austin. When I visited it a few weeks ago, the Gregg's mistflower was blooming even though it hadn't had any water all year, and feeding Monarchs and Queens.

  9. Marilyn, the monarch migration is amazing. It would be a shame if we lost them to habitat destruction, which is a possiblity. Gregg's mistflower is a tough plant. Mine did not bloom much in the worst of the heat and drought, but came on strong after the first fall rain. I have two other species of mistflower. I planted a shrubby blue one this spring, although it may not be winter hardy here.


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