Last year, LEAF planted common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) in all six Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens as part of David Suzuki’s #GotMilkweed campaign, adding to the diversity of native species in our gardens. These little urban oases were already a beacon for pollinators of all sorts; now they’re also helping to bring back the monarch butterfly.
In recent years, monarch populations have experienced a distressing decline linked to a number of factors including habitat loss in more northern regions like Ontario where monarchs breed, and in central Mexico where the butterfly overwinters.
One of the most critical things we can do here is to enhance monarch habitat. That means planting milkweed which is essential to the survival of the larva, as well as planting other butterfly-friendly plants that adult monarchs may feed on. To learn more about the importance of milkweed, check out this great resource by Monarch Joint Venture.
Common milkweed blooming in LEAF’s High Park Urban Forest Demonstration Garden
Not only is milkweed beneficial for our fluttery friends, it’s also visually striking with its broad leaves and soft dusty rose flowers. At our High Park Station garden, the milkweed has transformed what was once an empty corner into something beautiful.
We hope that more residents will join this effort to support the monarch butterfly. Share David Suzuki’s Monarch Manifesto with your friends, family and colleagues. Join us in transforming patches of turf into verdant and biodiverse gardens. Help nurture a public garden in your neighbourhood or join one of LEAF’s stewardship teams.