Monarch Butterflies

Our Monarch butterfly preservation project has once again been featured in Blue Ridge Country Magazine, this time in an article by naturalist (and Orchard volunteer) Elizabeth Hunter. Elizabeth describes her work with Judy Carson to revamp the Butterfly Garden in the summer of 2012. Read the article, entitled “Saving the Good Stuff” . Without dedicated volunteers like Elizabeth, our preservation programs would not be able to function!

We raise Monarchs in terrariums in the Orchard shop from egg to larva to chrysalis, to butterfly, and each fall we tag the migrating generation prior to release. So far we have had six of our tags recovered in the over-wintering grounds in Mexico. Why do we do it? We hatch Monarch butterflies to help save them from natural enemies and to delight in the life cycle of this beautiful gift of nature. Each step is exciting every time we experience it and we love to share this experience with our visitors.

You can learn lots more about Monarch butterflies.

You MUST stop here as you take the drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

Lisa J

Trip Advisor

Plant Milkweed!

Milkweed, the larval plant for the monarch, is plentiful at The Orchard and so are Monarchs. Unlike some species of butterflies, Monarchs have only one larval plant, so they depend on milkweed for survival. In areas where milkweed is scarce, Monarchs are too. Unfortunately, the milkweed plant is frequently mowed down when housing or commercial development projects are begun. We encourage you to plant milkweed around your home or property and to remind others to do the same. We are happy to share milkweed plants and seeds from our grounds to help others contribute to preserving this species.