Monarch Anatomy

Metcalf Talks Gardening Ethics in BTG ‘Monarch Moment’

Jul 26th, 2016 | By Morgan Kinney | The Chautauquan Daily

There’s a reason why Chautauqua has a Bird, Tree & Garden Club, and there’s a reason why the Institution maintains a groundskeeping staff: Flowers are pretty.

But bees, butterflies and hummingbirds don’t much care if your daylilies are orange or cream; there’s an ethics to gardening, according to Sharon Metcalf, and planting something just because it’s pretty can be selfish.

“Go buy some plastic flowers, but don’t waste your soil on that,” she said.

Metcalf has been coming to Chautauqua for more than two decades where she’s taught pie baking in the Hultquist Center and model rocketry to kids down by the lake. Today, for BTG’s latest “Monarch Moment,” the master gardener will speak at 4:15 p.m. in Smith Wilkes Hall about planting native and supporting pollinators. Her talk is titled “Monarchs, Milkweed and Native Gardening.”

Growing native means planting things from the region that grow well. Gardeners agree native species require less irrigation, survive weather fluctuations and support wildlife.

Metcalf said that last bit, supporting wildlife, is the most important. She suggested thinking of gardens like a dinner table — a “Butterfly Bar and Grille” — where pollinators can drop in, drink some nectar, grab some pollen and move on to other plants.

In Chautauqua, that could mean planting milkweed to support the monarch butterfly or attracting birds with purple coneflower. Hummingbirds are fans of wild bergamot, too.

But pollinators are an itinerant bunch, Metcalf said, and as development eliminates naturally occurring sources of pollen and nectar, gardeners need to be intentional about creating way stations amid urban and suburban sprawl.

Chautauqua’s Bird, Tree & Garden Club Help Potential Gardeners Solve the Mystery of Attracting Butterflies

Jul 17th, 2016 | By Morgan Kinney | The Chautauquan Daily

The other week, two monarch butterflies escaped. The Bird, Tree & Garden Club had taken over Lincoln Park to demonstrate the monarch life cycle, and Chautauquans filtered through one of the tents to immerse themselves in a cloud of orange and black wings.

In that shuffle, two butterflies took flight, and one perched itself atop a nearby tree. Some of the organizers spotted the fugitive, waiting and watching below to see if it would fly within arm’s reach. Eventually, they gave up.

“Later that day, my kids came and got me upstairs and said, ‘There’s a monarch in our garden,’ ” said Lynda Acker, a BTG board member.

Acker, along with Betsy Burgeson, supervisor of gardens and landscapes, will be in conversation at 4:15 p.m. Monday in Smith Wilkes Hall to help other Chautauquans create gardens of their own that attract and support butterflies at all stages.

A master gardener and biologist by training, Acker designed her home’s lush gardens with monarchs in mind. Her children’s butterfly sighting is a sign she knows her stuff; monarchs don’t appear in large numbers until later in the summer.

Visitors experience every stage of the monarch life cycle by progressing thru different stations from eggs to adult. The final station is a twenty foot tent filled with monarchs. 


Monarch Waystations and Dedication of the Waystation at Smith-Wilkes Hall

Speaker/Guide: Betsy Burgeson
Location: Smith Wilkes Hall
Monday, August 8 at 4:15 p.m.

Learn from Chautauqua’s supervisor of gardens and landscape about what constitutes a Monarch Way Station and how Smith-Wilkes Hall’s grounds have achieved this designation. Learn the plants and the process required to achieve 'certification.' Don't have a plot of land on the grounds? Consider turning your 'off season' yard into a Monarch Way Station! This is the perfect idea to take back home! 

2017 season Monarch Moments MONDAYS 12:15

Week One: 6/27
“Bring Back the Monarchs”
Jack and Diane Voelker

Week Two: 7/5
“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”
Lori Stralow Harris

Week Two: 7/8

Lori Stralow Harris

Week Four: 7/18
“Landscape Design for Monarchs”
Betsy Burgeson and Lynda Acker

Week Five: 7/25
“Monarchs, Milkweed and Native Gardening”
Sharon Metcalf

Week Six: 8/1

Judy and Roger Doebke

Week Seven: 8/8
“Monarch Waystations and Dedication of the Waystation at Smith-Wilkes Hall”
Betsy Burgeson

Week Eight: 8/15
Jeff Tome