Saturday, April 15, 2017

"The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses."
~Hanna Rion

The end of the Container Butterfly Garden draws nigh.

I began dismantling the garden with the expectation of a move from California to the Prescott Valley area in Arizona. The house here has been sold and another was bought in a little town called Dewey. We held a garage sale at which most of the butterfly plants with containers were sold. The new owners wished to keep some of the plants and containers to continue the butterfly garden, but it's only a mere shell of what it was.

The original plan was to visit Laguna Beach one more time with a trunk load of butterfly plants to give away, allowing me the opportunity to say goodbye and pay my respects to those who I've come to know, befriend, respect, and eventually hold deep affection for. The planning was impeccable; the timing sucked.

The date of escrow closing has been pushed up by a week, which has made it impossible to schedule enough time to visit.

The new house features a very small yard surrounded by the ubiquitous presence of gravel, just like almost every other residential home in the area. Arizona too, as with California, is plagued with the absence of dependable water sources. I am taking a few smaller butterfly plants with me, but the scope will not be as "grand" as the one in San Marcos was.

As a last bit of butterfly related info, below are two photos illustrating how to determine the gender of Monarch chrysalides:



Take care, and Happy Butterfly Gardening!

“Be a child again. Flirt. Giggle. Dip your cookies in your milk. Take a nap. Say you're sorry if you hurt someone. Chase a butterfly. Be a child again.”
~ Max Lucado

Monday, February 13, 2017

Just a quick little update and comment on the previous post by reader Margot Norris. She pointed out that Transition Laguna held a potluck for migrating Monarchs January 24th, plus the City of Laguna Beach gave a grant for the start of a Laguna Beach Monarch Way Station. This is very good news! Looks like the ball is beginning to roll...

"The Daily Pilot local newspaper had an interesting article this morning titled "Monarchs in need of local help." It mentions that "the city of Laguna Beach gave $5000 to the environmental group Transition Laguna," (see
. The group's leader, named Chris Prelitz, is also talking to "groups like the Laguna Canyon Foundation, the Laguna Library monach project, the Garden Club and others in Orange County to unite efforts."
So let's hope there's some progress on this front in Laguna.



Saturday, February 11, 2017

“Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man.”
~ Vladimir Nabokov

Hello everyone! Long time no correspondence. On to business:

West Coast Monarch overwintering sites post increases in the last November census count which could partially be contributed to more census volunteers counting heads than any other year previous. An encouraging sign of increased overwintering butterflies is the discovery of several new sites. Below is a link for more on the story.

Western Monarch Count Reports More Monarchs than 2015, but Numbers Remain Low

  Excerpt from the article:

"Conservation efforts are underway to protect and restore the western monarch population. Monarch Joint Venture partners are working on habitat protection and restoration, research and monitoring, and education and outreach in the west. To learn more about these efforts, visit our Western Monarchs Partner Projects page, and find out how you can get involved in monarch conservation today." 
 I sent an email to Monarch Joint Venture regarding info on how to approach and interest corporations -- especially local government corps -- in evaluating and setting up areas for Monarch migration overwintering sites.

Laguna Beach had at least one historically significant overwintering site at Smithcliffs before it was developed. It would be nice if a mitigation site or sites could be created by the city with the help of local citizen scientists and partnerships such as MJV under the auspices of the city. Many of the city's parks and canyons could be assessed, and then act upon recommendations of principle parties such as MJV.

Where Laguna Beach is located, its topography, and with its lush landscape environments, it really wouldn't take much to implement one or even several sites. One already existing overwintering site (at least it was one 15+ years ago) is located on the Festival of Arts grounds.

Filled with eucalyptus and various species of pine, including the very rare torrey pine, plus the fact it's protected from strong onshore winds, these grounds would be ideal to help bolster the site in attracting and supporting more Monarch butterflies. This would be easy to do by simply planting nectar plants on the festival grounds that would help nourish and sustain an overwintering butterfly population. With the advent of an expanding overwintering population and local resident education on the gem they have in their possession, I'm sure quite a few of these residents would gladly plant for butterflies, therefor adding to the food source.

I do hope there are serious citizen scientists in Laguna Beach that would love to work in concert with the city in identifying and developing potential overwintering sites. Besides drumming up community interest, the first order of business is to overcome the apathy of the city fathers. For the life of me, I can't understand why such a forward-looking local government is so apathetic to such ideas.

Fiscally, the cost would be be very low, considering the overall big picture in running a city. All of the infrastructure is already in place in the form of its parks and canyons. Basically, all that needs to be done is to I.D. these areas and simply improve upon them.


On recent hikes I've been taking in my local preserves and greenbelt areas, I've spotted only one specie of butterfly so far, the Sara Orangetip. I used to see them quite often up in Alta Laguna Park during the winter and early spring months, especially behind the baseball field and in the butterfly garden.


 The Container Butterfly Garden? I believe our own moon is hosting more visitors at the moment.  👻