Gardening for Wildlife

Butterfly Hovering over a Zinnia Flower

Monarch Butterflies are threatened by increased pesticide use and the disappearance of their habitat here and in Mexico where they spend the winter.

Their populations have decreased by 80 percent over the last two decades! But you can help them by planting flowers in your garden that they and their caterpillars need to survive! Monarch Butterflies only lay their eggs on Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, and Butterfly Weed. By planting these plants in your garden you will be providing the food that Monarch caterpillars need to grow and mature into butterflies!

Adult Monarch Butterflies also need nectar producing flowers to feed on during their epic migration from Northern Canada to Mexico. You can help them by planting Zinnias! Zinnias are super easy to grow and their many-colored flowers will look beautiful in your garden. They are one of the Monarch Butterfly’s favorite food sources for nectar and attract hummingbirds as well! So let’s all help the Monarch Butterflies that migrate through Ridgefield Park by planting the flowers they need to survive! And remember DO NOT use any pesticides in your yard or garden as this will kill any Monarch Butterflies you attract!

You might also want to attract hummingbirds to your backyard! One of the easiest ways to do this is to hang up and maintain a hummingbird feeder! The best hummingbird feeders are available from a company named Aspects at http://www.aspectsinc.com or from Wild Birds Unlimited at https://www.wbu.com. You can easily mix up the sugar water they love by adding one part regular table sugar to 4 parts of water! Boil this mixture then let it cool and fill your feeders with it. Be sure to change this mixture every week or so. Hang your feeder out in a shady spot in your garden in early spring (April) when hummingbirds start to arrive from the south. You might be lucky to encourage them to stay in your neighborhood for the summer if there are enough flowers and insects to support them when they nest and raise a family! Be sure to maintain your feeder once you attract them so they have a constant source of food while they are with you! And, again, NO pesticides as these harm hummingbirds as well!