The Disappearing Monarchs

Soon To Be Extinct

An article in the Opinion Page of The New York Times last Sunday didn’t make me feel good about the direction of our environment.  The article ‘The Year the Monarch Didn’t Appear‘ by Jim Robbins mentioned that the population of the Monarch butterfly has dwindled so much  that not many of them have made it back to Mexico, their winter home, this year.  I have seen only two Monarchs in my garden this summer where I used to see dozens of them.  The second one I saw was very late in the season when the weather was getting a little cold and it seemed confused.  I knew it wouldn’t make it down south.

It’s not just the Monarch population that has been diminishing, the bees both native and honeybees have also disappearing.  The disappearance of these pollinators has direct effect on our food supply, not to mention our next generation may not have a chance to see some of them in real life.  It will be just like some of us having only learned about certain species from books and documentaries.

I am neither an environmental nor political activist.  I’m just an ordinary hobbyist gardener who enjoys wildlife and likes co-existing with nature.  My little garden may not be much compare to acres and acres of conventional farmland.  However, it is an oasis for many life forms searching for safe food and shelter in the middle of factory-farmland and chemically loaded gardens desert.  I started gardening organically since I moved here and converted a lot of the lawn to flower and vegetable gardens.  I’ve seen an increase in the variety and population of birds and insects in the garden.   It is satisfying to see some birds stay with us during winter and some stop by during their migration, and to see a new variety appear each season.

No matter where you are on this planet, you can help increase the survival of these pollinators.  A little bit of help is better than nothing.  Keeping the earth healthy by having a balanced, non-toxic environment is crucial to our survival not just theirs.

No one can say it better than Emerson..”…to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I first moved here
When I first moved here
Years ago, from the other corner
Years ago, from the other corner
Same corner afterward
Same corner afterward

Of course, it’s not finished yet.  But true gardens never are.

4 thoughts on “The Disappearing Monarchs

  1. So beautiful and I know from reading your blog, the gardens are full of niches for attracting and protecting critters. Your have made a wonderful impact on your land.

    1. I try to make it as close to a natural habitat as I can. Most of the plants are North American natives so they don’t require much care. I don’t tidy up the garden in fall so small critters and birds can find shelter there and the plants will have plenty of insulation from falling leaves. A lot of clean up work ensues in spring though. But it’s worth it.

  2. I have noticed fewer butterflies since I started tearing up our city lot about 10 yrs ago…I wish you were my neighbor I would love to chat over the fence, swap seed and share stories of what we see etc…since I have been planting more pollen friendly flowers my bee population is becoming more diverse! I love the humming sound, but too many of my neighbors use chemicals and at times it feels defeating, but I have been spreading the word and seeing fewer spray trucks over the past few years!

    1. Many of my neighbors still have manicured lawns attended to by machine and chemical on a weekly basis. I never understood people that move out of the city to the suburbs, only to cut down every tree on their property so that their kids can play on a chemically laced turf. I certainly understand your sense of defeat. I successfully converted one of my neighbors by showing her how I improved my yield, flowers and vegetables, by gardening organically. I think people need to see the difference in outcome between chemical and organic gardening to understand the benefits that come with an increase in birds and bees, flowers and veggies. It’s just more enjoyable too.

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