It was a good summer. Bulbs fattened and flourished. Blooms scented the air and colored the landscape. The okra talled and companioned the yellow lemon squash in the suppertime skillet. ‘Dinosaur’ kale, looking the part, towering at three feet and took the curious looks donned its way by children and adults alike.
But summer does wane and just as the show was nearly over a surprise ending appeared—in the final four weeks I had a daily visitation of a half dozen or so monarchs... Every day I was entertained by their fluttering between stands of zinnia, cosmos, salvia and dahlia. Who can say why the monarch in particular produces such a sense of awe from us. But they do!
For some of the monarchs in my late summer garden it was a refueling station but for others I suspect (sadly) it may have been a retirement home since they stayed past the first freeze. I thoroughly enjoyed their visit and it marked the closing gardening days with color, movement and that sense of wonder that the monarchs tend to stir.
On another late summer day in September of 2006, a lady by the name of Kylee Baumle was traveling with her mom from Del-aware back to their home in Ohio. They made a spontaneous stop at the United Flight 93 Memorial in western Pennsylvania. Afterwards they paused at a nearby chapel complemented by a garden spot. As they got back in the car her mom showed her a monarch butterfly that had she had found there. No longer alive, the monarch bore a small white sticker that they found curious. Responding to the Monarch Watch website on the sticker Kylee set off on a ten-year discovery journey of all things monarch. One of the end results of that journey is he well-written, heart-bearing love and respect for the monarch revealed throughout her book: The Monarch: Saving our Most-Loved Butterfly.
Chocked full of information easily digested, this written effort satisfies much of ones curiosity about the life cycle and migration of the monarch. Included also are the challenges to their survival and suggested avenues for aiding their survival. What to plant, how to plant, as well as organizations and websites dedicated to their aid are generously and clearly set forth.
For those who’d like to raise and/or tag monarchs there is also a helpful and detailed section. Additionally, there’s some craft ideas that can help raise awareness and give opportunities to educate children about monarchs. Those who teach will also find suggested projects and resources.
The awareness of the plight of the monarch and the call to come to their aid benefits not just the monarch but a whole host of helpful pollinators. We can applaud and be thankful for Kylee’s enthusiasm and careful research concerning the monarch on many levels.
As you might guess, I heartily recommend Kylee Baumle’s book on monarchs to all who have ever gazed at a monarch and marveled. Those who are curious to know more of their story and how to put wings to their concerns will be amply rewarded.
For reference: The Monarch: Saving Our Most-Loved Butterfly by Kylee Baumle
St. Lynn’s Press 2017; 159 pages
Reprinted with permission from the RMR Rambler