Monarch butterflies are among the most easily recognizable of the butterfly species with their brilliant orange and black coloring.
Monarch migration is one of the greatest natural phenomena in the world.
After noting that Monarchs were not as visible in recent years, the Dade City Garden Club did some research and found that nearly 1 billion Monarchs had vanished since 1990, with the loss of habitat and pesticide use among the reasons for the decline.
In October 2018, the Dade City Garden Club began discussions with the city’s mayor and the Dade City Commission on having Dade City declared a Monarch City USA.
A proclamation was issued in March 2019, which came with a pledge “to work together to restore habitat for the brilliant butterfly species in the community.”
The Dade City Garden Club now has launched a program to encourage the community to create Monarch Butterfly Havens.
A haven contains milkweed and other larval plants to support the species’ breeding process, nectar plants to feed the adult butterflies, and is maintained without the use of pesticides.
Upon certification (a free community service), the gardener is awarded a customized certificate and can purchase a sign to display in their yard.
The program encourages education and joy, but also helps to sustain the ecosystem and to produce natural resources by helping plants reproduce.
Tips for creating a haven for Monarchs are included in the application for certification, which is limited to gardens within the Dade City zip code areas (33523, 33525, 33526) and to members of the Dade City Garden Club.
Applications can be picked up at City Hall, The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce, The Hugh Embry Branch Library, and area plant nurseries, including Cindy Seifert Art Garden, Cindy’s Secret Place, and the Gardens Nursery and Rock Yard.
The garden club has scheduled a plant sale for Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., which will feature plants propagated by the club members, including pesticide-free butterfly plants.
Published September 23, 2020