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Welcome to A Writer’s Garden where writers who are gardeners or just love gardens will be sharing their garden and flower stories, as well as a bit about their writing gardens—aka their books.

Today’s guest is Emma J. Lane, who will be talking about weeds—and their place in our gardens.


Environmental Rewards—Milkweed plants

By Emma J. Lane

Plant Study of Milkweed Asclepias syriaca by Barbara Schuster 2003 Practitioner Training Attendee

A customer of our small plant nursery was wringing her hands over the wild bunnies munching her precious perennials. I had recommended to her several plants bound to repel those hungry cotton-tails, but to no avail. It was a mystery until I rode through her neighborhood of perfectly groomed lawns. Some sort of weed and feed had been liberally applied to the entire block. Deep emerald squares displayed throughout. Poor rabbits had no choice but to nibble her precious perennials. Not even their favorite food, actually.

milkweed in Emma’s yard

Every building lot presents owners a mini-environment in which to create the best interest of the current residents. At my house, I frequently reminded my better half, I was in the business of raising children, not grass, nor a perfect lawn. Dandelions, wild daisies, clover, and milkweed (horseshoe pits, badminton nets, fire pits, etc.) were all welcome and appreciated. Our yard was a playground for children, coincidentally welcome to available wildlife as well. Deer, rabbits, woodchucks, coyotes, fox, chipmunks, skunks, (ugh), etc have all visited at one time or another.

life cycle of a Monarch Butterfly

My present goal is to aid in the preservation and rebirth of abundant Monarch butterflies by trying to preserve their favorite and only food, milkweed. Research assures me there are many available varieties of this precious plant whose leaves feed the small green, yellow, and black Monarch caterpillar. Milkweed grows wild in the Northeast, has prominent leaves, tall stems, and highly fragrant blossoms. It also secretes a bitter milky substance that may irritate the skin, so not a favorite cut flower. A couple of varieties: swamp and regular are easily recognized in roadside colonies. The bitter sap of the leaves is repugnant to prey, consequently the caterpillar and butterfly protected as well. Many catalogs have available seeds. Check your local nurseries for plants. Shelter a milkweed plant; save a Monarch butterfly and enhance your personal corner of the world.


About the Gardener/Writer:

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes under several pen-names. She lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at her son’s plant nursery.

Emma writes under Emma J. Lane: Historical Regency novels. aka Janis Lane: Contemporary Cozy Mysteries.

Visit her at her website https://emmajlane.com/