Johnny Appleseed Meet Mary Milkweed


A story of seed relocation… Can’t say specifically where I got them or where they are going. Probably wouldn’t be allowed to play Mary Milkweed by distributing a wealth of milkweed pods throughout park lands, so let’s just say I did not do that. 😀


I brought a number of opened and almost-opened pods home today to dry. Also to have a little fun with the camera too.



This milkweed is from seed I “planted” years ago along a public biking trail. I just scattered the seed on a morning walk and they took root for about 20 plants growing today. The original seed came from a state park a few miles away.


3/16 inch Snail on fuzzy, pale green back of 9″ by 5″ milkweed leaf. The central vein is green, the lighting makes the warm glow.

I want milkweed where it was previously at another state park. It has not been there for the last three years. The dry summers have made them disappear.


Lone pod in the State Park in 2012

The seed gathered are in a weedy wet area that stays moist all summer. It was like a swamp today picking them. I got soaked. Where I want to replace the milkweed, it is often dry, but there are low spots that retain moisture.

Did the Monarchs lay eggs? I checked on “my milkweed” earlier, and some caterpillar damage was noticed. Just because one plants it, does not mean they will come in numbers apparently. But there is also invasive dogbane in this field… so maybe that keeps most Monarchs away.


Pods in their habitat.


Joe Pye Weed is also missing from the meadow near my house, and I have plans on that too.


A few of the milkweed photos were taken at home, but the rest were photographed in the field.


Milkweed is really beneficial and unfortunately, it gets bumped out of its habitat by dogbane.



I took these pictured milkweed pods from the field below. The image is of the fog, but the blurry green along the path is milkweed. The crop is small, but next year hopefully it will be more.


A calm fog rolls in…

Be an activist. You can propagate milkweed from seed, cuttings, or even root division. Or buy plants…


Just because the morning light was pretty.

I have shown a number of butterflies on GWGT, but they have been lessening in number and variety. I wrote a post on them with numerous links to scientific study. Certainly no guarantees of Monarchs if you plant, but it is worth a try.


Distributing seed where it grew before might be a sound idea. If the seeds set, good chance to see some in the future.


Next… the last hummingbird to leave my garden and head South.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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40 Responses to Johnny Appleseed Meet Mary Milkweed

  1. These images are so soft and precious…great job.

  2. Exquisite photos! I was at the plant swap at a library near me on Saturday, and someone brought a whole bag of milkweed pods. He suggested that gardeners just set the pods around the yard and they would get lots of plants. I didn’t take any pods because I am pretty sure that if the plants pop up in random locations I wouldn’t recognize them and would weed them out. I got a milkweed plant in spring from another gardener but never labeled it. One day I realized it was gone, and I think I might have forgotten what it was and weeded it out. I did buy a milkweed plant recently and I have labeled it, so we’ll see how that goes.

    • I know what you mean planting them and not knowing what is coming up. Since the invasive dogbane is in the same area, I had to wait and see to make sure. The stem color is red on dogbane, the leaves smaller, the pods long and thin, but they look very much similar when growing. Swamp Milkweed looks like it in pod length. Common milkweed generally has large leaves as described under the mini snail photo. The flower color/shape is different too. I had to make sure “my patch” was un-invaded.

  3. Patrick says:

    I think this is one of your more engaging posts of late. Love the floating clouds imagery but that last image is da bomb, Donna.

    • I usually try for something interesting and different in my posts, but it often is not always plants and gardens. I am planning gardens I visited soon though. I save them for when the color wanes here.

  4. Merilee says:

    This is an absolutely delicious. I look forward to your posts! They make me feel good 🙂

  5. Common milkweed is disappearing because of the destruction of its habitat. Also people use the term invasive incorrectly to describe it so gardeners remove it from their property. I dug some up from a roadside and transplanted it to my “meadow”. It does run but not too badly and the flowers are gorgeous and highly fragrant.

    • Yes good point about habitat loss. The ones disappearing at the park have nothing to do with that though. The meadow is never planted, burned or mowed. It is just as it always was, except that plant life has been less varied and in transition due to dry summers. Invasive is used incorrectly when in reference to some plants, but if used generically,
      invasive |inˈvāsiv|
      (esp. of plants or a disease) tending to spread prolifically and undesirably or harmfully – most mean spreading prolifically or undesirably – and seed like milkweed does that like Connie mentioned. Maybe aggressive is a better term, but when inundated with a particular plant, invasive (generic) is so much better descriptively. Dogbane is on the invasive list and that was the one I was referring to in the post. It looks very similar to milkweed and when people collect seed, they should be certain from what plant they are taking it. I watched the plants through the summer to make sure I got the milkweed.

  6. These images are so stunning! Common milkweed just isn’t so common anymore. I brought some seed pods back from Michigan to plant in my garden in Georgia. There are 12 different types of milkweed that grow here in Georgia. All of them make great additions to a garden even just for their blooms. I keep adding more even though I have fewer monarchs that visit my garden each year. I hope one day the populations will grow and I will see more of them but there are also so many other insects that use the milkweed plant that I continue to add and enjoy them.

    • Thanks Karin. I have saved some seed to try in studio with good studio lighting. I am unsure if I can get to the studio though. Setting up at home is possible, but my flash has to be sent to Nikon as it has decided not to work now.

      The one shot that looks like they are floating on a cloud was done with the seed on a light table. Remember slides? That is why I have a light table, but have used it for other things as well. I just put Viburnum leaves on the light table and boy does the color pop. Now I am going to try insects if I can get ladybugs not to fly away.

      I am not sure how many varieties grow here, I never looked it up. The two I have pictured is Swamp and Common. In the park it was Swamp that died out. I am going to replace it with the Common I collected. It will be wait and see… I too hope Monarchs return. The news on them is not too promising, but some of the decline being weather dependent could mean it to be better next year. Time will tell.

  7. Ah, what a lovely acquaintance! You never seize to amaze me, Donna with your photos!
    [love the title!] Happy Tuesday, my dear! 🙂

  8. Great photos! I absolutely adore the milkweed pods, seeds, and silky filaments. I found some here a few years back and was so taken with them then. I’m so glad the seed “fairy” is finding ways to sow these seeds. Blessings, Natallie

    • I will have to call up the fairy and tell her where I want them since the Parks would never let me do the planting. It is illegal to even remove a small fossil from the Parks grounds, yet I bet many do.

  9. I love the milkweed seeds and their fluff. I’m surprised to hear that it disappeared in some park areas – I think of it as a plant with a lot of staying power. I have quite a bit of milkweed, but no caterpillars – as you say, you can plant it but they won’t necessarily come. Sigh. Maybe next year. Gorgeous photos.

    • A lot of plants have suffered with the dry weather here. The meadow is on a hill which dries out more rapidly too. The ground is hard and water runs off. Sometime I will show the erosion gullies as water runs down the gorge to the river.

  10. Phil Lanoue says:

    Absolutely outstanding images!

  11. Wow….wow and wow again! Your photography is amazing and you are VERY talented! Love the macros!

  12. Beautiful photos and excellent points, Donna! The Swamp Milkweed is now my favorite. I have so many seeds–some of which I will scatter at our cottage, some I’ll give away, and some I’m planting here. It seems to like my garden. I saw both hummingbirds and monarchs nectaring on it this summer. Thanks for another wonderful post!

  13. Pat says:

    I love milkweed pods and seeds. They are so interesting. Beautiful photos.

  14. bittster says:

    Beautiful photos and a great message. I will be doing my duty!

  15. Talk about having fun with the camera. What fantastic photos!

  16. A.M.B. says:

    “Mary Milkweed,” that opening had me laughing out loud! Great message and great photos, as usual.

  17. Seed bombing for butterflies. Awesome.

  18. I moved milkweed from the garden to the meadow where I hope it will take. I have lots of seed to scatter too.

    • If YOU scatter seed, whose advice is best to follow? You are such an accomplished gardener and know tidbits the rest of us often don’t. Always interested in what you are doing in your garden. Happy seeding!

  19. Fergiemoto says:

    Fantastic macro shots!

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