I am going to look into purchasing a large quanity of milkweed seedlings at wholesale prices for anyone in our community interested in cultivating milkweed. If interested, please leave a comment in the comment section, which will help give me an idea, very approximately, on how many plants to order. You can also wait until the fall and sow ripened milkweed seedpods. (Note: Please do not dig up any wild milkweed).

The following timely news release was in my inbox this morning!


“In real estate it’s location, location, location and for monarchs and other wildlife it’s habitat, habitat, habitat”, said Chip Taylor, Director of Monarch Watch. Monarch Watch ( started in 1992 as an outreach program dedicated to engaging the public in studies of monarchs and is now concentrating its efforts on monarch conservation. “We have a lot of habitat in this country but we are losing it at a rapid pace. Development is consuming 6,000 acres a day, a loss of 2.2 million acres per year. Further, the overuse of herbicides along roadsides and elsewhere is turning diverse areas that support monarchs, pollinators, and other wildlife into grass-filled landscapes that support few species. The adoption of genetically modified soybeans and corn have further reduced monarch habitat. If these trends continue, monarchs are certain to decline, threatening the very existence of their magnificent migration”, said Taylor.

To address these changes and restore habitats for monarchs, pollinators, and other wildlife, Monarch Watch is initiating a nationwide landscape restoration program called “Bring Back The Monarchs.” The goals of this program are to restore 20 milkweed species, used by monarch caterpillars as food, to their native ranges throughout the United States and to encourage the planting of nectar-producing native flowers that support adult monarchs and other pollinators.

This program is an outgrowth of the Monarch Waystation Program started by Monarch Watch in 2005. There are now over 5,000 certified Monarch Waystations – mostly habitats created in home gardens, schoolyards, parks, and commercial landscaping. “While these sites contribute to monarch conservation, it is clear that to save the monarch migration we need to do more,” Taylor said. “ We need to think on a bigger scale and we need to think ahead, to anticipate how things are going to change as a result of population growth, development, changes in agriculture, and most of all, changes in the climate,” said Taylor.

According to Taylor we need a comprehensive plan on how to manage the fragmented edges and marginal areas created by development and agriculture since it is these edges that support monarchs, many of our pollinators, and the many forms of wildlife that are sustained by the seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, and foliage that result from pollination. “In effect,” Taylor argues, “we need a new conservation ethic, one dealing with edges and marginal areas that addresses the changes of the recent past and anticipates those of the future.”

Monarch Butterfiles Female left Male right Milkweed ©Kim Smith 2012

The above photo of a male (right) and female (left) Monarch Butterflies on Marsh Milkweed is part of the GMG/Cape Ann Giclee photography show, currently on view at Cape Ann Giclee.


  1. Hi There, Kim,

    If it makes sense to piggyback on your efforts in another town, I’m a member of a group in Arlington that’s involved with the environment and we have planted rain gardens there.. I’m sure folks would be happy to plant milkweed in this effort. I’m guessing seeds for 7-10 gardens, based on the usual level of participation In addition, my sister is in landscape architecture school focusing on sustainability and I know she’d be happy to get involved as well. She’s working on a couple projects this summer, so that’s another 3-4 gardens’ worth.

    Btw, I always love seeing your beautiful posts. I don’t have enough time to read all of the prolific GMG, but I try to squeeze yours in!



    1. Great Shannon–thank you for writing. I will definitely include you in the order. Tomorrow i will have some to call and do some research. I am giving a lecture Monday at Tower Hill and will think of ways to expand this project.


  2. Kim-Maybe you could post some pictures of what milkweed looks like at idifferent stages so people will leave it ,not pull it if it “volunteers” in their yard and garden.Just a thought!


  3. I’d love some although I have a very small area just about 10 ft from Rockport Harbor. Is that an appropriate area? No point if they don’t like the area.


  4. I’d love some milkweed, too.
    And, what about asking the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market if this could be a community green project with a booth at the market one week? I’d be glad to help volunteer to help make this happen.


  5. We have been talking about planting milkweed all winter. My kids would be delighted so count us in for a few plants.?We are in east glo.


  6. Kim, thank you for sharing Robin & I have been supporters for years. She keeps a large patch of milkweed in her Worcester garden. We have been harvesting eggs, raising & releasing Monarchs for many summers now. Milkweed, the primary source of food for the monarch has been severely reduced over the years through over-development of once natural areas. People ask where have all of the Monarchs gone? It starts with where has the milkweed gone. No milkweed = NO monarchs!


      1. That is huge and would be simply awesome–THANK YOU JOEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        Monday I am contacting plant sources for availability and then we can go from there.


    1. Happy Easter to you and your beautiful family. I hope you are seeing the grandkids today!!

      I imagine your daughter would like some for Maine, too–the kids will love seeing all the butterflies!


  7. Happy Easter Kim, I’ll take ten, or a pack, or how many it takes to get a five foot hedge row of milkweed going. I was a kid in Indiana and the fragrance of the milkweed flower would knock your socks off. When the pods dried out we would tear them open and get them to float around the yard until the place looked like a pillow fight. I hope I was helping to spread the seeds.

    If an old pal back there can get me dried out pods would that work? he would be getting them from places where there are plenty of plants. Milkweed loves growing in alleys in Indianapolis.


  8. Happy Easter to you too Paul. Yes you were helping to spread the plants and yes the dried seed heads are perfect–just do what you did when you were a kid, but spread in an area where you wish the plants to grow.

    Milkweed grows in alleys and forgotten patches around here, too. Because people oftentimes don’t know what milkweed looks like and how important it is to the pollinators, the plants gets mowed over or weeded. We need to get the word out to our DPW’s, too!


  9. We’d love to put some Milkweed in too we have a big backyard, there used to be some Milkweed but they didn’t come back last year I think the briar may have over run our patch. I love listening to you talk about butterflies and flowers – your knowledge is incredible. I have an idea I will email you!


  10. Kim, what a wonderful effort! I grew up spreading the milkweed seeds in upstate NY just like PM in Indiana. Would love a couple of plants for my granddaughter to pass along the fun!


  11. I’d love to have milkweed in my garden– our butterfly bush brings in the monarchs, but is probably more like a snack than like a sustaining meal. 🙂 Please include me in your order!


    1. The butterfly bushes bring in the transient butterflies for the nectar. When you plant milkweed, the Monarchs will colonize your garden because milkweed is la dual-purpose plant. The flowers provide nectar for countless species of bees and Lepidoptera and the foliage is a caterpillar food plant for the Monarch caterpillars.


  12. I’d be interested in seedlings, but I am out of town that weekend to raise money for Mass. Audubon. I already started a milkweed patch with common milkweed. Great project!


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