Planting season is almost here and gardeners are preparing to dig in the dirt. As you plan your garden, local groups want you to add something to your backyard this year.
Kelli Lydon shows off her seeds. She says, “Here I have tomatoes, bell peppers, kale, collard greens. I have cucumber, eggplant, spinach.”
She started seeds of the old standbys inside on her front porch, she’s planting something new this year. She says, “I’ve always grown herbs butterflies like, but this year I’ve decided to add milkweed because I heard a really important story about how milkweed is essential for monarch butterflies.”
The perennial plant is native to Iowa and provides a nectar source for bees and butterflies. The pollinators are in decline, and a new initiative aims at bringing them back. Blank Park Zoo Conservation Coordinator Jessie Lowry says, “They just can’ find the food and habitat resources that they need to survive and you may be surprised to know one third of our global food supply depends on pollinators.”
Blank Park Zoo is partnering with ten organizations for the initiative called Plant Grow Fly to encourage people to plant butterfly friendly gardens in their backyards.
Lowry says, “We need to create little gardens, little weigh stations where they can travel to and from finding things to eat and places to lay their eggs.”
Butterflies and bees like splashes of color and seeds can be planted in the ground or in containers. You can find where to buy buzz friendly seeds on the Plant Grow Fly website.
Lydon spent about $3 for her fifty milkweed seeds, and she hopes the butterflies will stop by her garden and stay awhile. She says, “I love them. They’re so beautiful, and they’re a sign of the changing a seasons.