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I need milkweed!

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by Cheryls Butterfly Garden on June 20, 2006 12:29 PM
Here I am in central Oklahoma just getting a butterfly garden started and find that milkweed is endangered...and totally hard to locate. Everywhere I have looked on the Internet it's sold out or not available until the fall. I'm looking for Oklahoma varieties. Any suggestions? Would you plant it among all your flowers or make it a separate area in the garden? We have red clay in Oklahoma. What can I add to the soil for a healthy garden? To start with I have a sunny northeast corner of the yard with a fence line on the north and the house to the west. If you can imagine a sloping downward backyard whose only flat surface is a 24 foot circle where an above ground pool sat last summer. The flat circle is now layered with rubberized mulch and my butterfly garden is encircling this area. Thus far I've planted a few things and am working on clearing out all the grass. It's getting hot, in the 90's, here in Oklahoma. Yet, thus far I have spotted 2 butterflies...a cabbage white and a yellow one...both on my single branch of my butterfly bush. This is a beginning, but wanting to really make them happy with Milkweed.
by Wrennie on June 21, 2006 12:30 AM
I have butterfly weed seeds. It is alot like milkweed. A smaller plant, looks alot like it, butterflies & hummers like the blooms. I dont know if any b-flys use it for a host plant or not. The town cuts the grass on the side of our roads, they usually hack down all the milkweed. I can go look if there are any survivors.

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by Cheryls Butterfly Garden on June 21, 2006 08:38 AM
Wrennie, we just got back from 2 days at Orlando, Florida's Epcot Center that was having a lawn/garden expo with butterfly gardens being the central theme. So I got a good look at milkweed and how it is devoured by the caterpillars while other plants right beside it looked very pretty. I never thought I would say that I loved seeing a plant eaten on, but I can't wait to have some and know that I have caterpillars. Coming back all inspired to really make my garden a success, I've been trying to locate milkweed that grows in Oklahoma. From what I have learned seeds are usually sown in the fall which would explain why it is hard to locate them. Just now I got an email advising me to contact my local county extension office. At the same time the person had not had success with bringing the live plant from the pasture for transplant, but success with seeds. Other articles I have read say that many plants we get are beaming with pesticides. So I'm thinking, "maybe, seeds" and a lot of patience on my part to map out a plan to make this area a true, lasting butterfly haven or h(e)aven. You mention "butterfly weed" seeds. As I was emailing you, I was going through the descriptive plant stakes that came with each plant from my nursery. And of course, I just put them in the ground and haven't had time to learn about each. Well, as it turns out, 2 of the plants that I was given are called "Butterfly Flower, Asclepias tuberosa" which is the last plant given on the "Native Milkweed for Oklahoma" list I found. My plants have not been shredded by caterpillars, yet, nor blooming yet. But at the same time I am noticing that the website listing doesn't call them milkweed in the name, but rather "butterfly weed"...what you are calling your plants. Interesting! Is your butterfly weed ravaged by caterpillars? Epcot had the milkweed mixed in with the plants; yet I'm thinking of reserving a plot of land just for milkweed because it is an invasive plant. Any thoughts?

I just love learning. As a child, I have wonderful memories of chasing many butterflies in a little patch of weeds that bloomed white flowers...just a result of nature. I want to create that and more in my little patch of 1/3 acre.
by Wrennie on June 21, 2006 11:03 AM
I googled, these look like what I have seeds from.
http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=butterfly%20weed&sa=N&tab=wi
I dont see any babies from mine from last year. But its surrounded by grass that gets weed wacked so it may have been chopped down. I have an 'island' that has invasive bee balm in it. We mow around it which keeps it in check.
You could do that with the milkweed and just pull babies that pop up where you dont want them.

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 - Summer Camp '07, July 14th weekend, won't you join us?  -
summer camp thread 1, 2, 3,4
by Bestofour on June 21, 2006 12:06 PM
I have milkweed galore. I've never gathered seeds from it. I'll keep a watch on it and get you some seeds if I can. Will you PM me your address as a reminder.

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by Cheryls Butterfly Garden on June 22, 2006 02:30 AM
Bestofour, my address is

Please PM her your address....Your address has been removed for your protection---Laura

I'd love to have seed. Do you know what variety of milkweed you have? Even if it isn't a natural in Oklahoma, I wouldn't mind giving it a try. (Noticing you are North Carolina)

Thank you so much!

by Cheryls Butterfly Garden on June 22, 2006 02:33 AM
Wrennie,

Just thinking about how many plants for butterflies are actually invasive like the bee balm and thinking...when I walked through the OKC Zoo Butterfly Garden I noticed this spring how many sidewalks they had cut through such a small area. Perhaps it is to do as you did...make small islands of the most invasive plants. I like your idea! Great tip for my planning!

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