The Del Mar Monarch Demonstration Garden is now in place at the Del Mar Civic Center on the north end of the plaza.Funded by a grant from Del Mar Foundation to the Del Mar Garden Club, volunteers from both organizations worked to create the garden, and to provide resources to assist residents in making their gardens Monarch-friendly (available at the link below).
Planting native milkweed is key, since Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed, and the caterpillars feed exclusively on its leaves. Narrowleaf Milkweed is the locally native plant to include in your garden. Monarch butterfly experts encourage Californians to replace tropical milkweed with native milkweed, or at least to cut it back in the fall and winter months (see “The Problem with Tropical Milkweed” below, which explains how tropical milkweed can transmit a protozoan parasite, OE, to butterflies, and because it doesn’t die back, can disrupt Monarch migration).
The Garden also includes native plants that serve as nectar plants for Monarchs and other pollinators. A few of the plants that make up the new City Hall Monarch Butterfly Garden: Monkeyflowers, Penstemons, Deerweed, Salvias, Fuchsias, Verbenas, Ceanothus and of course the Del Mar Manzanita, anchored by the boulder. The complete Plant List, along with additional information and resources, is available online.
When planting your butterfly-friendly garden, consider California natives which are sustainable, save water and provide habitat for pollinators. And keep in mind that both insecticides and herbicides can be harmful to Monarchs, so eliminating them from your garden is another way to help Monarchs and other pollinators.
The Garden’s Plant List and additional Monarch Butterfly resources are here: delmarfoundation.org/monarchs/
Gale Darling, a member of the Del Mar Garden Club and a professional garden designer, designed the Monarch Butterfly Demonstration Garden and selected the boulder and plants for the Garden.