Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rio Salado a Planting Success!

If you enjoy walking around the peaceful paths of Rio Salado  look for butterflies in the air! Seven "friends of the monarchs" planted 20 Narrowleaf or Arizona Milkweed, Asclepias angustifolia, along the lower channel of the creek near the waterfall on May 8th. The day was warm,  but lucky for us Narrowleaf Milkweed grows best in the shade. We worked fast! All twenty holes were dug (some times with a pick!) and planted in two hours - quick enough to miss the upper 90 degree temperatures forecast for the day.

While we were working, hikers and visitors to the restoration habitat stopped by to watch. A tour group from Israel was planning a riparian park in their home town using reclaimed water. They came by to see what a restoration area could look like and dream for the future. They were visiting both Phoenix and San Antonio searching for ideas. Everyone was thrilled by the wealth of wildlife in the area - birds of every kind, lizards, rabbits....and, of course, the monarch butterfly habitat!

Rio Salado looked more like Winter than Spring with cotton from nearby Cottonwood trees thickly wrapping and hanging from every available tree branch. It gave an eerie look to the area, almost looking like snow - an interesting tension to the warm temperatures of the day. We planted the milkweed close to the creek so they could absorb water easily to thrive in the hidden recesses of the canopy. The white flowers were refreshing in an area lush with green growth and by the time we were leaving bees were busy doing their work.

Afterwards Ranger Rebecca thanked everyone for their efforts! During the summer months we'll likely see Queen butterflies laying eggs on the Desert and Narrowleaf milkweed until their cousins, the Monarch butterflies, return in the Fall.

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