In the 40 years between 1980 and 2020, the populations of Western Monarch butterflies declined by an estimated 90%. Much of the reason for this loss is unknown, but a leading culprit is genetically engineered Bt corn, which has killed off a large percentage of the nation's milkweed, which is the major source of food for Monarch larvae.
In response to this crisis, thousands of Americans have been creating pollinator gardens in their yards containing milkweed and other native plants that are attractive to butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators.
In 2021, we (Marla and John from Vegan Street) planted a wildflower-based pollinator garden in our backyard which filled the space with a wide variety of colorful flowers and lots of milkweed and brought a lot of butterflies (including more than a few Monarchs) to our yard along with bees and songbirds. This year, we more than tripled the size of our garden and we're seeing hundreds of shoots popping up all over. It's now late May, and the plants aren't expected to flower for another four to six weeks. But come July, our yard should be a haven for monarchs and other pollinators.
There are a lot of great resources online for starting the best pollinator gardens for your region, goals, space, time and budget (wildflowers are probably the easiest, cheapest and most natural way to have a beautiful yard). We think you'll love the results.