Friday, October 14, 2016

It's that time of year again...

Summer seemed to want to stick around forever this year, until, like the setting sun, it was just suddenly gone from the horizon. The leaves have shed their chlorophyll to flaunt lovely and brilliant reds and copper colors, and the air is brisk with heavy undertones of burnt firewood. Josh ushered inside his warm weather loving plants just in the nick of time to skirt the first frost of 2016.  I've been observing my little potted lemon tree; it has finally decided to form tiny green fruit. I'm not sure how much more of a real Fall and the upcoming Winter season it can endure before it too needs to be sheltered from too cold conditions.

With our gardening minds winding town like the dwindling summer grown remains of our gardens, we look forward to hunkering down with seed catalogs, fixing leaky patio roofs, and that time of the year: stuffing Monarch Mail envelopes.

What is Monarch Mail?
Monarch Mail is what started our whole campaign. When faced with the dilemma of absence/complete loss of Monarch caterpillar food and habit, what is the most effective way to bring the native milkweed back to the Pacific NorthWest?

Disperse seeds and plants for free or for cheap. 

We've found that many local nurseries and seed companies sell milkweed seed or plants for fairly cost prohibitive prices. Sometimes the seed was clearly harvested too soon and had poor germination rates. By distributing seed for nearly free, we hope that when people's plants mature in the future, they will 'share the seed forward' to friends and family or back to us to re-distribute. We have reached a point where we have funding to purchase soil and pots for plants. All proceeds go towards more materials and resources to grow our campaign.
It is that time of year for Monarch Mail!

Late Fall is a good time to plant native milkweed seed. When properly planted (not surface scattered), the seeds go through the natural stratification process they experience in the wild. After experiencing the cold and wet of our winter, the seeds send down deep taproots and emerge with the warm and sunnier weather. The only downside to this method however is the risk of a late frost and pests- we have heard reports of frosts killing tender seedlings. One suggestion is to plant the seeds in flats, or with the ability to cover them so they can be protected during those frosts once the little green leaves emerge. Another method is to stratify them in the fridge on a moist (not wet!) paper towel in a plastic bag for a few weeks. Once removed, the warmth of the room is enough to get them to sprout. This can be done safely after the danger of frost, but the seedlings might be a little bit behind those naturally grown and slightly more tender.

Get your envelopes in, for your free seeds.

Getting free seeds will cost two stamps - one on an envelope addressed back to yourself, and one on the envelope you mail to us with the first envelope inside (aka SASE 'Self Addressed Stamped Envelope'). Please mail your SASE to:

Monarch Mail
PO Box 2304
Hillsboro, OR 97123

For those of you without access to post offices or mailing materials:

Due to the generosity of some folks donating stamps, we can send out a limited number of envelopes directly to you. Don't hesitate to ask if you fall in this category. We are happy to get seeds out to those willing to plant.

Plant seeds we are offering at this time: 

Asclepias speciosa aka 'Showy Milkweed'
It is the predominant native to much of the Pacific North West area (predominant in areas where they still exist anyway). They can get up to 3-4 feet tall, and have lovely silver green fleshy leaves. Takes two-three years to mature/bloom size. Drought tolerant once established.
    Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)

Asclepias fascicularis - aka 'Narrowleaf Milkweed'
Another PNW native, it can tolerate arid conditions a bit better than speciosa. In addition, since it is a smaller plant and fairly fast growing under the right conditions, it may bloom at the end of the first year, definitely in its second. 

Asclepias fascicularis (Narrowleaf Milkweed)

 Asclepias incarnata - aka Rose or Swamp Milkweed 
 We consider this plant an 'ornamental' as it is not native, but ideal for those with wetter growing conditions, and for those who want a plant that does not send out rhizomes/runners. It grows in a tidy but large shrub-like clump and has beautiful deep pink flowers. It can tolerate partial shade (will be leggier in these conditions).
Asclepias incarnata (Rose Milkweed)

Asclepias tuberosa - aka Butterfly Weed 
This is a classic east coast native, and thus an ornamental out here. It has a compact and tidy growing habit with bright orange flowers - a good alternative to the Mexican/tropical milkweed. Will not spread.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Asclepias syriaca- aka Common Milkweed 
This is the east coast cousin of Asclepias speciosa. The plants look very similar, however syriaca is *very* vigorous. We only recommend growing this plant if you have a fairly large amount of acreage so the plant will stay on your property.

Happy Autumn everyone, get those envelopes in! Use this form to email us and request our address.

Message :

Friday, May 27, 2016

Who's ready for Crafty Wonderland?!

We Almost Are!

Crafty Wonderland is free to attend, but if you're one of the first 200 you get a goodie bag stuffed with terrific little freebies and coupons from vendors (and the bag itself has a neat design every time). Just a warning, people tend to line up for these more than an hour or two before the show opens (I should know, I was one of those people ;). Come see us at Booth #28! Ross and Josh will be manning the booth while I'll be selling my pottery and artwork directly behind them at the Birdzilla Studios table.

We will have the remainder of our milkweed plants from the Spring Garden Fair, and lots of seeds for planting come fall (if you throw them in the fridge ASAP you could get a head start and plant them in two weeks!).  Free coloring sheets as always for the kids, and wildflower seed bombs! We will have buttons too and free stickers with every purchase. With every purchase or donation you get a little 'I voted!' sticker. Fun!

Crafty Wonderland's hours are from 11 am to 6 pm, but we recommend going early because we anticipate selling out of plants early. Hope to see you soon. We'll post some photos from the Spring Garden Fair soon!

- Vote For Monarchy

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Spring Garden Fair (and milkweed) are here!!

Join us at the Spring Garden Fair this Saturday! We will offer native milkweed plants, seeds, free coloring sheets for the kids, and wildflower seed bombs for you to start your own Monarch habitat. Sweet Mother's Day gifts for certain! We will be in row K, at booth 27.  Come say hello! Admission is $3; this is a huge and fantastic garden event that is not to be missed. :) Fantastic time for the whole family! For more information: Spring Garden Fair
Here is a map! We are at K27. Hope to see you there!

A live milkweed update from Josh. These are Asclepias speciosa and Asclepias syriaca (which is native to the east coast, so it is strictly an ornamental garden plant at our home). We can't wait to see the beautiful flowers!