Giving the monarchs a place to rest: Watch party held for local gardener featured on episode of Prairie Yard & Garden

Local gardening enthusiast Vicky Dosdall was recently featured on an episode of Prairie Yard & Garden, a Pioneer PBS program. 

The episode centered around the monarch waystation that Dosdall has established on her property. The monarch waystation is a place for the monarch butterflies to stop and rest during their migration. Dosdall describes it in the episode similarly to old-fashioned waystations for stagecoaches, “just like you think about back in the early days of horses and stagecoaches, they had a waystation to stop and rest at, well this is a monarch waystation.”

The monarchs could be flying all the way from Canada to Mexico, and then back again, so the waystation provides a place for them to stop, rest, and get some nectar.

In recent years, monarch numbers have continued to steadily decline, and that is due in part to use of pesticides in fields and at home, which contributes to the lack of milkweeds and other native plants that the monarchs need to survive. 

The episode details the process for creating a monarch waystation, plants to use, tips for planting, and materials. 

On Thursday, Jan. 18, Mary Holm, host of Prairie Yard & Garden, and Dosdall hosted a premier at Old No. 1 to see the episode for the first time. 

Holm has hosted the show since 2014, and has told several stories since. The story ideas come from many sources, including emails, talking with neighbors, reading, and from different experiences Holm has. 

Creating the episode takes a lot of work, and many hands on deck to make it happen. Four people will attend the shoot: two camera people, a production assistant, and Holm will travel to their location. Mike Cihak, the producer of the show, will walk around the location to determine the best spots to shoot. Things like background buildings, if it’s clear or overcast, and the level of lighting all play a large role in shooting the episode.

Holm and the guest will do an interview that takes about 30-45 minutes while a production assistant is nearby taking notes. After the interview finishes, the notes are reviewed and corresponding camera shots will be taken for “b-roll” film that will be edited into the final episode and dispersed throughout the interview. 

Holm says that the premier was a success, and 65 people attended, a couple even traveling from Parkers Prairie. “The food was good, and the weather was excellent,” she said. She also says that Cihak went to the venue beforehand to make sure equipment was working properly, and everything went smoothly.

Not every episode gets a premier or watch party, but they try to hold at least one per year. Later this spring, they are planning to host a second watch party for an episode featuring West Central Area Schools and the projects students are working on in their greenhouse, including growing hydroponic lettuce that is donated to area food shelves. 

You can watch the episode featuring Dosdall on YouTube by searching Prairie Yard & Garden 3701 – Creating a Monarch Waystation to learn all about the waystation that Dosdall has planted.