Weekend viewing

The first in an ongoing series of videos on the wide wild world of landscapes and how you can be a part of and engage with landscapes and the natural world in the ways that are meaningful to you. This video looks at how to go from a lawn to a garden and manage what can suddenly seem like an overwhelming number of choices and details. “A landscape comedy,” one person described it as. I’ll take it. Happy viewing.

John Kamp

Inviting monarchs to the city

Monarchs flock to the Liatris ligulistylis in the Pine Hill Road landscape

The number of monarchs migrating from Mexico to Canada this past year has increased, after several years of somewhat alarming decline. Theories have abounded as to why their numbers were dwindling – climate change and habitat loss being primary suspects – but the verdict is still out as to why the increase. In any case, we wanted to take the opportunity to give a plug for one of the simplest, sure-fire ways to attract monarchs to your urban or suburban landscape (no matter how big the size), and as a way to improve the likelihood of monarch populations persisting into the future: plant Liatris ligulistylis (aka Meadow Blazing Star). Without fail, the electric-purple flowers of this prairie perennial open up and the monarchs do not skip a beat, and they will visit your landscape every day until all the flowers have faded. The flowers actually emit a pheromone to attract monarchs in particular. Additionally, the form of the plant is cultivated-looking enough that it does not look out of place in a front-yard planting tucked within and between some sturdier shrubs or grasses. In other words, it won’t give your landscape that weedy-hot-mess aesthetic that plagues many a front-yard perennial garden these days. So, go forth and plant your Liatris ligulistylis; it’s one of the easiest, feel-good things you can do this spring to help give the monarch population the boost it needs.

For more on the decline and rise of the North American monarch population, click here.