On any given day, this garden is buzzing with activity.
Located on Monarch Landing’s 80-acre campus, this 900 square-foot butterfly garden is full of native prairie wildlife, designed with monarchs in mind.
“For the monarchs, you want to have milkweed because the caterpillars only feed on milkweed, so in this particular garden I’ve got five different species of milkweed. The milkweed has a sap in it, or a latex-like sap and it contains alkaloids and when the caterpillar feed on the alkaloid based leaves of the milkweed, they ingest, it and it becomes part of their system so when a predator comes and tries to eat them, it leaves a very bitter taste in their mouth, literally a very bitter taste,” said Bill Lannin, a Monarch Landing resident and prairie garden expert.
But there aren’t any caterpillars here yet, as it is just the beginning of butterfly season. That’s because monarchs migrate up here from Mexico, usually arriving in late summer or early fall.
“We’re kind of at the end of their journey, they don’t migrate further than southern Canada, so we’re kind of at the end of the road,” said Lannin.
In the meantime, there are plenty of other creatures, making this garden their home.
“We tend to have a lot finches and we get hummingbirds because of the cardinal flowers, in terms of pollinators, we see all different kinds of bees. For the animals and bees in the area to have a constant feed, they have to have multiple sources, and this is one of these places,” said Lannin.
A place cultivated and cared for completely by the residents of Monarch Landing, like Bill Lannin, who has a passion for restoring prairie wildlife to Illinois.
Lannin explains, “It was a piece of my childhood growing up, and there’s this movement to kind of recreate some of what we lost, and that’s really what this is all about.”
You can still attract monarchs to your own garden, by planting a mature milkweed.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.
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