As lantana plants fill many areas of the Perry Wellness Center campus with their bright color, their main competition seems to be the monarch butterflies who feed from them. The growing population of the endangered butterfly is encouraging, as Rudy’s Happy Patch Market has joined the mission to protect the majestic monarchs.
The beautiful monarch population once numbered over a billion, but over the past 20 years, their numbers have decreased by 90%. A major factor in this decline was the gradual removal of milkweed in yards and along streets. Now, monarchs have begun to increase their po9pulation, thanks to many devoted individuals and organizations working to prevent habitat loss and replant milkweed. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has championed this effort and promoted the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail in nearby Plains, Georgia.
In addition to milkweed, monarch butterflies also enjoy lantana blooms, along with other nectar-producing plants. Happy Patch may not offer milkweed in its inventory, but the numerous lantana plants are welcoming a growing population of the spectacular monarchs.