Friday, May 27, 2016

May and our Milkweeds

I've been having a bit of trouble getting myself organized enough to start posting on our blog this spring. 

First a wonderful vacation with family in Colorado and Utah and a 5 day raft trip organized by our sons on the San Juan from Mexican Hat to Clay Hills.  Couldn't be better! 

Not all days were like this - a 45 minute
thunderstorm with winds blowing us
back up river.

Most days were like this!
As I sit down to write, my background music is that of the 17 year cicadas.  They are in my woods big time!  The other day on the phone with a friend it was stereo - we could each hear the noise from both yards through our phones.  
Oh yes, this is about milkweeds!  Before I left for vacation.  I asked our club members for updates and photos on the milkweeds we started from seed last year - successes and failures.  I've decided to combine all of our milkweeds into one story for this summer.  It will be a lot easier to follow.  If you would like to see the 2015 posts on each milkweed, please just refer back to the posts on the right sidebar.  We started  several varieties that would work in our area:  Whorled, Spider, Prairie, Butterfly Weed and Purple. 
We distributed several dozen small pots to the membership at our June 2015 picnic.  Those that did plant their milkweed directly into the ground instead of holding in pots seemed to have the best success.  The other problem that was mentioned repeatedly is that the marker wore off over the winter and many members cannot tell what variety they have - we will just have to wait and look at the leaves and flowers as they develop.

  • Ann O. replied that none of hers came up as well as none of her already established milkweed. 
  • Jennie replied that the gutter cleaners knocked her pots over and they never recovered.
  • Buffy reports that hers also died.
  • Jane S's also died in the end of summer drought period. 
Debbie E replies that none of hers have appeared, but she does have the native growing by her mailbox.

Debbie April 27 photo
Mary Anne replied that she seeded 2 jugs of milkweed, one of which survived.  She took 6 seedlings from club members, of which 5 survived.  All of the name stakes have faded except the pots of A. verticillata.

Mary Anne April 28 photo
Anne S. took 3 pots - one milkweed pot hasn't done anything since I covered and put up against the garage brick wall to winter - over.  These two pots are sprouting! YAY! I will take a better photo when the sun is out tomorrow and check their labels so we know which two have survived the best!  I am going to put them into the ground soon in a sunny place so hopefully they will spread!

Anne S. April 28 photo
Nina R. reports:  Against all odds I have three of my four milkweeds growing this spring. Of course the tags are unreadable but I guess in time it will be obvious

Nina May 5 photo
Our big success story is Judy!  Although Judy loves Conservation she really should be a Hort person - she excels in growing.  From the beginning she had great success with propagating seeds on her windowsill for Zone meeting seed challenges.  Judy planted hers directly into the ground last year and hers appear to be the best so far.

Judy April 29 photo

Judy May 10 photo
Look how much it has grown in such a short time.
Judy updated today:  May 27, 2016.  34" and still growing.  She will be the first to get a bloom!  Congratulations on your success.

Judy's milkweed on May 27, 2016.
34" tall.
These are mine and hopefully over the holiday weekend I will get them in the ground and have some better photos soon.

Sara late April photo

Sara May 28 photo
I usually like to open a post with a 'tidbit' or quote, but milkweed quotes are a little hard to find.  I did find an interesting energy article about the use of milkweeds  Energy Quote of the Day: ‘It’s Less Expensive to Use Milkweed’ to Clean Up Oil Spills

And I went back to 'Bringing Nature Home' - we were fortunate to have Doug Tallamy speak in Charleston last year.  Such a great speaker and I knew I would find something there. 

"...The degree to which your neighborhood interacts with the monarch butterfly is limited only by your imagination.  I can think of no better way to reconnect with nature than to adopt a species such as the monarch, or any number of plant and bird species with declining populations  Being part of a group that successfully restores the local population of a species in trouble will not only build camaraderie with your neighbors, but may be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things you will ever do."
I think all in our group would agree with that!

To be continued soon....

Spring 2017 and our milkweeds are prospering.  Kathy has hers in pots on her driveway in order to get enough sun.  This is April 30 and they are up and looking like they are forming early blooms.

Kathy's pot sits outside her garage doors.
Lots of bottom heat from the pavers.

Another shot of Kathy's from the top.


  1. Sara,
    Awesome post. Loved seeing all the milkweed successes! We will have to post about the planting project at the carriage trail soon....!
    Marjorie Cooke

    1. Our sign is arriving soon! Hope the monarchs also arrive. They are a little slow this year but the milkweeds are beautiful.

  2. Kathy's pots of milkweed are up and loving the warm weather.