Growing Milkweed

I found a foolproof way to grow milkweed starts from seed.  Last year I had a 100% yield


Oregon Native Milkweed – John Day, Oregon

on 3 different kinds of milkweed. (Seedlings are pictured on the second page of newsletter)

Click to download newsletter with instructions: Starting_Milkweed_RockbirdGardens

For anyone interested, I’ll be giving a presentation at the offices of the Pollinator Project in Phoenix, Oregon, on March 10th. “Planning and Growing a Butterfly Garden” 

Best regards,
Robin McKenzie
Rockbird Gardens


Butterfly Gardens


Monarch Butterfly

Robin McKenzie, Master Gardener and principal designer for Rockbird Gardens, gave an outstanding presentation on Monday at the Ashland Garden Club meeting. Robin specializes in creating sustainable backyard ecosystems for wildlife, and for people. Monday she talked about “Planning and Growing a Butterfly Garden”,  her talking points were:

• Research the items you need to attract butterflies
• Find a sunny garden location. ( 6-8 hrs of sun)
• Create a garden plan for your yard: flowerbeds, raised beds, and/or containers
• Know the timeline needed to create a garden
• Prepare the soil for your plants, add amendments, make sure you have good drainage
• Install borders and hardscape before you plant (*see mud-puddle below)
• Decide your plant choices: purchase and/or grow your plants, then plant according to their specific directions, don’t crowd your plants!


Butterfly Puddle

*Butterflies need water, so make them a mud puddle!
Use a shallow dish such as a plastic or terracotta plant saucer in a sunny area of your garden that is protected from the wind. Fill the bottom of the pan with sand, gravel, and a few small stones, add water to the dampen sand.

Host plants:
Attract more butterflies by having plants for larval food in your yard, for instance:



Milkweed for Monarchs
Tarragon for Swallowtails
Angelica for Anise Swallowtails
Violas for Great Spangled Great Spangled Fritillary
Note: Be prepared for heavy munching on these host plants, these plants are  caterpillar food!

See list of host plants here:

And here….

How to become a Certified monarch Butterfly Station:

Lecture was by Robin McKenzie
Monarch Butterfly image by Simon Koopmann‎ on Wikimedia Commons
Submitted by: Carlotta Lucas



Monarchs and Meadows: Creating Butterfly Gardens

Butterfly Nectar Plants:
Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed

Asters, Milkweeds, Joe Pye Weed, Lantana, Coreopsis, Daisies, Black-eyed Susan, Rue, Marigolds, Zinnias, parsley, Fennel, Purple Coneflower, Verbena, Thistle, Sunflowers, Heliotrope, Lavenders, Sedum, Yarrow, Thyme, Liatris, Cosmos, Galardia, Mallows, Bee Balms,  Marjoram, Oregano.

Butterfly Host Plants (For Caterpillars)

Milkweed, Pearly Everlasting Fennel, Willow Trees, Popular Trees, Mallows, Violets, Pea Family, Cottonwood Trees, Thistle, Goldenrod, Asters, Grasses, Parsley/Carrot Family.

Web Sites: ( North American Butterfly Association)
On this site you can certify your butterfly garden, rate plants as nectar sources or hots plants, and learn about all aspects of butterfly gardening.
You can learn about raising monarchs and treating their diseases.
You can certify your butterfly habitat as an official Monarch Way Station. Starter kits, appropriate for you region for both nectar sources and host plants, can be purchased.

By Janet Rodkey