April 28: Milkweed and Joe Pye finally re-emerging

I’ve been sweating, wondering if the milkweed would survive the transplant to the back hill. For the past two years, we’ve had milkweed in the most prominant focal place in our front yard: right in front of the stairs that lead up to the front door.

It looks great when it’s fresh and green, but once it gets covered in aphids and starts looking super messy and leggy, it’s not really the best plant to have as a “look at me!” plant in front of the house. I redesigned the front bed to hopefully have a less messy look (though every bed I design is for butterflies, birds, and pollinators, which generally means meadowy “natural” plants, which tend towards the messy eventually) and moved the milkweeds out back where it’s fine for them to be covered in all the critters we’re growing them for. The aphids are part of the food chain and will get eaten by something else, and even when a milkweed seems coated in, the monarch caterpillars seem undeterred from munching the leaves.

I was fearful the milkweed wouldn’t survive the transplanting. Everything this year is happening later than it did last year, thanks to the late snows and freezes. The milkweed and Joe Pye were emerging April 15 last year. The dogwood and redbud were already in bloom at that time too.

I’ve been walking the garden every day to check on everything, and I think it’s finally happening. I think the milkweed and Joe Pye are finally sending up shoots. Though last year the milkweed were green and this year they’re red. Maybe I’m just catching them earlier than I did last year. I just hope they survive and I don’t have to replace them. The Joe Pye and the pink milkweed look an awful lot alike. I hope they’re what I think they are and not a weed.


This past week I also noticed the bachelor’s button seeds I planted are sprouting, and I put in a Mexican feather grass and a scabiosa out back since the grasses I want aren’t in yet (a pink muhly and prairie dropseeds).

This time last year I had already sowed wildflower and zinnia seeds. Temperatures are forecast to approach freezing on Sunday night. I think I’ll wait until after that to sow the rest of the seeds: nasturtiums, zinnias, dianthus, sunflowers. And next week, it’s FINALLY supposed to break 80℉. I’m hopeful things will really take off after that. Until then, here’s how things look. Not nearly as far along as last year, especially in the herb bed. I don’t think the thyme survived my divisions very well.


One thought on “April 28: Milkweed and Joe Pye finally re-emerging

  1. Both milkweed and Joe Pye weed are uncommon here. I have never grown either of them. I know that milkweed is becoming more popular, but have not seen much of it. Joe Pye weed, is something I would not recognize if I saw it. It is that uncommon. Isn’t that odd for such a traditional flower?


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