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Monarch Butterfly Habitat Garden in the town of Sonoma

The Monarch Butterfly Habitat Garden in the town of Sonoma began because four individuals were concerned about the alarming population decline of Monarch butterflies. The garden evolved through a partnership with the Valley of the Moon Garden Club, California State Historic Parks, the First Congregational Church, Sonoma, and its Earth Care Committee.

The group’s mission is to educate about and to encourage people to grow flowering native perennials and wildflowers for nectar, along with native milkweed to host Monarch caterpillars. The goal is to create a super highway of pollinator gardens throughout Sonoma Valley to help restore Nature’s original biodiversity which is now supplanted by a monoculture of vineyards. Planting in home gardens, patio planters church grounds, school gardens, public lawns, and more, can all contribute to providing natural habitats for all pollinators.

Located behind the church, which offered the land, the garden is in its third year. Sonoma Materials donated loads of premium soil mix, Emerisa Wholesale Nursery gave the perennial plants, and people brought wildflower seeds to sow. Milkweed plants are grown in the greenhouse at California State Historic Park- General Vallejo Home.

Monarchs have migrated south through Sonoma Valley in late summer to lay eggs on the native narrow leaf milkweed. They were fostered in sheer tents through their caterpillar stage to healthy butterflies that flew on their way to warmer climates by the coast to winter over.

The garden is resting through May and the wildflowers and perennials will be at full bloom in mid-summer. Tours of the garden will be scheduled from June through August. Location, dates and times will be posted in the Gazette calendar of garden tours.

The story of the garden, how it was made, the Monarchs’ metamorphosis, other creatures who inhabit the garden, the ideal flowers to grow in a pollinator garden, and more will be presented at a meeting of the Valley of the Moon Garden Club on Thursday, April 2, at 7:00 p.m. at Burlingame Hall, 252 W. Spain Street. Refreshments and a plant raffle will follow the meeting. Club members are free, and guests are $5. For inquiries, call 707/935-8986.

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