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Bloomin' News September 7, 2018
Butterflies are glorious creatures. Monarch butterflies migrate yearly from Mexico to all areas of the US. Incredibly, many make it all the way to Kalamazoo. They lay eggs, those caterpillars transform to butterflies, and hopefully, some make it back to begin the cycle again.
 
Most gardeners know that Monarch butterflies lay their eggs only on Milkweed plants. I added Milkweed to my gardens a few years ago. Fun fact: Milkweed, once you have it in your garden, will always be in your garden. It has a deep taproot that in my garden has traveled as much as eight feet in a year. So plant wisely. Another fact: only about 5% of eggs make it to a butterfly. The eggs and the small caterpillars can be tasty snacks for larger bugs.
 
Recently, I have seen many Monarchs visiting my gardens. Then I spotted a large caterpillar. They are quite obvious with their black, white and yellow stripes. After doing some research, I constructed an enclosure to house a caterpillar. You need to change out the plants regularly. So out in the garden I went and collected new cuttings. Then I noticed 3 tiny caterpillars – less than ¼” long – on the leaves.
 
Currently, I have 12 in chrysalis as well as a large enclosure where 3 more are eating and pooping regularly.
 
It is fascinating watching them eat and grow, and hopefully, I will be able to release many new Monarchs to continue their journey.

In a surprise to me today, when I returned from watering in Bronson Park, one Monarch had emerged from a chrysalis!
Egg on milkweed
5 different sized caterpillars
Caterpillars eating milkweed inside enclosure
Green chrysalises inside a separate enclosure
For all things, there is a cycle and our season will be winding down beginning later this month. We're recruiting volunteers to help with various plant pulling activities. More details and a volunteer sign up are here.

Our season starts to take shape again starting with our annual Pumpkin Soiree fundraiser on November 7 at 6 pm. Attend the event to help us keep blooming!
End of Season Plant Pull
Beginning September 24
Downtown Kalamazoo

Sign up to volunteer here. Start times are at 9 am.

Monday, September 24: Pull plants from flower beds
Wednesday, September 26: Remove topiaries and empty flower containers
Monday, October 1: Dismantle Mike the Peacock and flower trees
Friday, October 5: Remove grass from 4 oval beds along Rose Street
Saturday, October 6: Transplant Daylilies and other perennials into the 4 oval beds along Rose Street
The Great Pumpkin Soiree
November 7, 6-8 pm
Cityscape

Click to become a sponsor 
Click to purchase tickets

Join Kalamazoo in Bloom for this pumpkin-themed fundraiser. Vote for People's Choice winner and learn who judges vote as Overall Pumpkin Champion, Best Dessert, Best Vegetarian & Most Creative Use of Pumpkin. Silent auction, a sneak peak of 2019 animal topiaries with a chance to sponsor them first, door prizes, live music, cash bar and more. Proceeds from the event help us purchase flowers to beautify public spaces in our communities.

Competing participants:

600 Kitchen & Bar
Bell's Eccentric Cafe
Central City Tap House
FireKeepers Casino
Friendship Village
Heritage Community of Kzoo
Latitude 42
Pretty Lake
Stuart Avenue Inn
and more!


Volunteer signup will be available in the near future on our website and Facebook page.
If you have information on plant sales, gardening events, garden tours, outdoor related volunteer activities, and other news of note that you'd like me to include in the Bloomin' News, please email me at gardener@kalamazooinbloom.org.

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