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Gallery: Food & Fuel Plants - Photos & Testimonials 

Food for Monarch Caterpillars : Milkweed

Image, Common Milkweed (2).jpg

         Common Milkweed

          (Aslcepias syrica)

Height: Up to 8' 

Width: 36"

Spreads via rhizomes

Landenberg Monarch Garden, 2018 E.jpg

Orange Milkweed

       (Asclepias tuberosa)

Height: 24" 

Width: 24"

Common, drought tolerant 

Image, Hello Yellow Milkweed 1.jpg

Hello Yellow Milkweed

       (Asclepias tuberosa)

Height: 24" 

Width: 24"

Common, drought tolerant 


Image, White Milkmaid 2.jpg

White Swamp Milkweed

       (Asclepias incarnata)

Height: 48" 

Width: 36"

Semi drought tolerant 

Also called 'Milkmaid'

Image, White Swamp Milkweed.jpg

         Swamp White Milkweed

            (Asclepias perennis)

Height: Up to 12" 

Width: 10"

 Moist soils, water gardens

Swamp Milkweed, June 22, 2021 A.jpg

Pink Swamp Milkweed

 (Asclepias incarnata)

Height: 48" 

Width: 36"

Semi drought tolerant 

Image, Whorled Milkweed .jpg

Whorled Milkweed

   (Asclepias verticillata)

Height: 36" 

Width: 18"

Drought tolerant 

Purple Milkweed, July 2021 B.jpg

Purple Milkweed

   (Asclepias purpurascens)

Height: 36" 

Width: 18"

Semi Drought tolerant 

Susceptible to plant diseases, pests

Partial sun 

Fuel for Monarch Butterflies: High Nectar Yield Plants


Joe-Pye Weed

Height: 3-8'

Width: 2-8'

Colors: Pink, Purple White

Bloom: Summer - Early Fall


New York Ironweed

Height: 5-9'

Width:  4-5'

Colors: Purple

Bloom: Summer - Fall


New England Aster

Height: 3-6'

Width: 2-3'

Colors: Purple & Yellow

Bloom: Late Summer - Fall



Height: 2-4'

Width: 2-3'

Colors: Pink, Orange, White

Bloom: Summer - Early Fall


Seaside Goldenrod

Height: 3-8'

Width: 2-8'

Colors: Yellow

Bloom: Summer - Late Fall

Purpletop vervain.jpg

Purpletop Vervain

Height: 6-8'

Width: 1-2'

Colors: Purple

Bloom: Summer - Fall

A white blazing star.webp

Blazing Star

Height: 2-4'

Width: 1-2'

Colors: Purple, White

Bloom: Mid-Late Summer

A Boneset.webp


Height: 4-6'

Width: 3-4'

Colors: White

Bloom: Early Summer - Mid Fall

Sites From My Garden

So very close.jpg

 So close! Remember 

only 1 in 300 make it

to a butterfly. 

2nd Instar, Aug. 2021.jpg

Caterpillars grow quickly. Stage 2 here. At risk from many predators. 

Even after they've left, they leave their signature.jpg

Even after they've left, they leave a gift of wonderment. 

Chrysalis 2018.jpg

September and October are busy months for people who tag Monarchs. 

All the hard work pays off.jpg
Mason Jars.jpg
1 day old monarch caterpillar B.jpg

This is what it's all about. We hope by protecting late-stage caterpillars, more can make it to adult butterflies. 

Housing late-stage caterpillars enables you to feed fresh milkweed daily and prevent parasitic flies or wasps

2-day old Monarch caterpillar. At risk for jumping spiders at this age. 

Whorled Milkweed, August 2020. Bjpg.jpg

Whorled milkweed: a

popular choice for 

late-summer and fall caterpillars.

Emerging from Chrysalis.jpg
Emerging from Chrysalis B.jpg

Emerging Monarch. Most butterflies will emerge in the morning normally before 10am. Fluid is pumped from the abdomen into the veins of their wings. Wind drying time is

about 4 hours. Before flight, tagging can be done safely. 

Mid August competition.jpg

Mid to late August competition. 

Partners in the garden, Monarch caterpillar and aphids.jpg

Monarch and aphids. Commonly found together. 

Chrysalis 2020.jpg

Remnants of the caterpillar's colors. The gold colors are carotenoids from the milkweed it has eaten.

Shedding skin.jpg

Rare shot, Monarch caterpillar shedding her skin before making it a meal.

Classic 5th Instar.jpg

Stage 5 and ready to search for a safe place to pupate. 

Emerging milkweed, May 5_edited.jpg
Recovery begins.jpg
emerging purple milkweed, 5.6.22.jpg
May 14, 2022 A.jpg

Emerging milkweed. Cold stratified for 60 days

Asclepias incarnata

Asclepias purpurea 

 Second year. 5.6.22

Asclepias purpurea 

 Second year. 5.14.22

May 14, 2022.jpg

Asclepias purpurea 

 Second year. 5.14.22

White seedling, May 14th.jpg

Swamp Milkweed

Asclepias incarnata


June 10, 2022 H Yellow buds. .jpg

Cultivar Hello Yellow

Buds on June 10, 2022

June 10, 2022 H.Yellow.jpg

Cultivar Hello Yellow

     June 10, 2022

June 11, 2022 Purple Milkweed .jpg

Purple Milkweed

     June 11, 2022

June 12, 2022  Purple Milkweed A.jpg

Purple Milkweed

     June 11, 2022

June 12, 2022  Pink Swamp Milkweed A.jpg

Pink Swamp Milkweed

     June 11, 2022

Looks like Purple but note  leaf shape

First caterpillar - White Swamp June 14, 2022.jpg

White Swamp Milkweed

June 14, 2022

Dreaded Lantern fly larva A.jpg

Are Lantern fly larva a new threat to monarch food sources?

Mandables will cut fresh growth.jpg

Milkweed beetles will cut developing flowers. Get rid of them. 

Tachinid flies sit and await monarch caterpillars.jpg

Tachinid flies will

lay eggs in monarch


Early June action (2).jpg

June 22, 2022 First generation of the year

eating swamp white

Monarch on Purpletop vervain.jpg

July 29, 2022 Attracted to Purpletop vervain

An early summer treat.jpg

June 26, 2022  Secured on white swamp milkweed

Monarch on Purpletop Vervain.jpg

August 6, 2022  Purpletop vervain

Time of change.jpg

June 28, 2022  Time for a change. 7-10 days a monarch will emerge

One day until freedom A.jpg

July 8, 2022   One day until she emerges

Newly emerged.jpg

July 9, 2022  The day of emergence, a new generation has begun

Whorled milkweed works.jpg

August 1, 2022 Don't let the thin leaves fool you, Whorled milkweed works

A monarch favorite perennial.jpg

August 7, 2022, personal pic for perennial of the year

Roadside Milkweed is Dangerous.jpg

September 2023, risks 

of roadside milkweed

Monarch refueling before flight to Mexico.jpg

Migratory monarch re-

fueling en route to Mexico, August 2023

Lil help here.jpg

Emerging monarchs 

readily accept nectar or sugar water

Important Egg Laying in August A.jpg

Monarchs can't resist new growth for laying eggs August 2023

2023 Tagging Season E.jpg

Releasing captive bred monarchs w a nectar meal offers a good start

2023 Tagging Season C.jpg

Eggs laid the same day, emerged the same day,

tagged the same day

Brilliant survival tactic.jpg

Brilliant survival strategy

against milkweed defensive strategy

Fall Magic.jpg

Nothing more spectacular

than a 5th instar fall caterpillar - Sept. 2023

Welcome to DE Gold Coast, Milton, DE.jpg

First Welcome Monarch Station - Origin of the upcoming:

Delaware Gold Coast project

Our clients are anything but garden variety!

Thank you so much for the wonderful, educational, and informative presentation on the Monarch Butterflies at Crosslands & Cartmel. So many glowing comments! We deeply appreciate your time and effort. 

Marion W. 

"I remember when, as a second grader, I had the thrill of observing first-hand in our classroom the life-cycle of the monarch butterfly. How wondrous to wait for its emergence from its cocoon. This was the scene in my mind that I flashed back to when I met Gary, and he introduced me to his beautiful monarch habitat park. It is a magical place.

Gary’s knowledge is impressive, his enthusiasm is contagious, and his dedication is a safeguard for these beautiful creatures. I recommend Gary’s creative project design and construction to anyone interested or in need."

Lauren A.


"Gary has turned our backyards into a place of peace and relaxation during a time of stress and uncertainty.

From the beginning concept that included his detailed drawings to the list of items needed to completed the project Gary rose above!

His skill as a visionary with design and his craftsmanship with physically putting the idea Into action was remarkable 

His attention to detail and his curiosity as to what we wanted and had envisioned was only surpassed in his final product.

We look forward to our next backup projects whatever that shall be... perhaps Gary will help us discover what might be next!!!"

Peter W. 


"This summer I found myself in a grime situation: I was raising monarch butterflies and ran out of food while having about 30 really hungry caterpillars. How did it happen? The reason is the lack of expertise. I planted milkweed on the edge of 6×12 ft bed of zinnias and cosmos. This bed became an amazing ecosystem: spiders, praying mantises, assassin bugs, frogs...  Sadly, these neighbors were deadly for monarch caterpillars. Also, zinnia and cosmos plants shaded milkweed. Finally, I was left with a few milkweed plants and many monarch eggs and caterpillars which I brought to the cages. 

This is when I ran out of food and was literally saved by Gary. 

I contacted him and he helped me to find reliable sources of milkweed, taught me to feed caterpillars in a most efficient way, gave me advice about spacing the plants, helped to handle disease outbreak. Thanks to his professional advice I have already released 30 healthy butterflies. 

I can absolutely recommend Gary to anyone who is looking for reliable, knowledgeable and helpful professional.  He he is a monarch enthusiast you can trust. "


Jane N.


"Gary Liska is as rare of a gem as the natural assets he so passionately seeks to protect.  His unwavering dedication to the preservation of the Monarch Butterfly is just one example of what he’s known for, eclipsed only by his reputation for being one of the hardest working individuals on the planet.  Gary Liska is the kind of guy you wished you had as a neighbor, because simply put, he makes the world a more beautiful place!"


Sher V.

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I loved working with Gary on the pollinator garden and it turned into exactly what I had hoped that it would be. 

He suggested plants for Monarchs and other pollinators.  The project came in without any stress and under budget!  I am very pleased!

Joann P   5 leaves !

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