Monarch Watch spring fundraiser plant sale underway

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For the second year in a row, Monarch Watch is holding its annual spring plant sale online. The sale, offering a variety of plants, is taking place this weekend. 

The event helps raise money to support the nonprofit organization based at the University of Kansas that provides education and research into the monarch butterfly, its habitat and behavior. The plants for sale “are ideal for starting butterfly gardens or adding to established gardens and can contribute to the health of monarch and pollinator populations,” according to the organization’s website.

The plant sale usually is held on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, as part of an open house at the Monarch Watch facility on the KU West Campus. But the pandemic forced Monarch Watch to make some changes last year. This year, the sale is going through Saturday, but people have been able to pick up plants since Wednesday. That’s a shorter window than last year.

“We spaced it out a lot more last year, so it was a weeklong event, which made it kind of challenging because it was a lot of work for a week,” said Ann Ryan, research project specialist and greenhouse manager for Monarch Watch. “This year we’re doing it three days, so we kind of consolidated it.”

People interested in buying plants must make a minimum order of $20 for contactless pickup. There is also the option to have your plants delivered anywhere in Lawrence on orders and donations of more than $100.  

Monarch Watch hopes to be able to hold its annual open house and tagging events in September, but the organization is waiting for approval from KU to hold in-person events. 

“Our ultimate goal is creating habitats for butterflies and all the critters that share the same space,” Ryan said. “So that’s really heartwarming to see that all these people want to put all these butterfly-friendly plants in their yards.”

Plants can be purchased online here. Monarch Watch’s butterfly garden is open now, with parking available on weekends and evenings.

More photos from the Monarch Watch garden:

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