Pollinator's Perspective

Category Archives: Pollinators Perspective

It’s All About Perspective!

Like so many things in life, how we see something really defines our perspective and overall view on life.  In the horticultural world, all too often insect damage to landscape plantings guarantee a phone call demanding service.  But if we shift our perspective, or perhaps just simply how we view the situation, then we can take a moment and celebrate the world we live in.  The attached photos were recently received from a client.  But this time, no calls for service- no screams to kill the bugs eating her plants- rather- she was bragging!  After all, she should be!  A year ago we started the process to transform her rear yard into a lawnless garden loaded with a blend of native pollinators species and classic horticultural go to’s.  Mixed among the Hydrangea and Boxwood is a healthy dose of natives- most notably – Swamp Milkweed, Coreopsis and Coneflower.

She called early summer and was thrilled by the presence of finches all over her rear planting harvesting the seeds of Coreopsis and in turn the Coneflower.  Completely hooked, she called this morning anxious about her next project – a front yard lawnless makeover including stalwarts and natives.  Her perspective modulation is complete- it is all natural of course for a science teacher to practice what she preaches.  Wait until the garden busts out next spring- then it will be a chance for the neighbors to consider their perspectives!

An Unexpected Native

The Passion Vine:  Young botanists and taxonomists work hard to learn the basics to identify plants.  Looking for rules often help – for example – flowers which have three of something tend to be monocots.  Flowers which are four or five merous tend to be dicots.  These early characteristics aid greatly in deducing what plant family and genus a specific plant may belong to.  Of course as soon as you learn all of these helpful rules for classification and identification, along comes a plant seemingly hell bent on being difficult.  Need an example ? I give you the passion flower.  Long known for medicinal and spiritual qualities, there is nothing typical of this summer flowering native.  The plant has three ovaries, five anthers and seems to carry six petals and sepals.  A strange flower for sure. The key though is its nectar is extremely rich in sugar, thus the omni present pollinators.  It just all starts to make sense after all.

Outstanding In Her Field!

One of our very own, Malinda, an ecological specialist is standing amidst one of our latest prairie restoration projects.  This 5.5 acre pollinator prairie is nestled into the heart of Frontenac, Missouri.  The prairie seed mix was planted last winter, there are lots of natives germinating and starting off on the right foot.  In each new project we add some annual prairie species to add to the excitement of the transition to the new pollinator prairie.  The yellow which surrounds Malinda is the annual Plains Coreopsis.  It is a great bloomer for the first year, don’t you agree?

An Ecological Marvel

SSM St. Clare Hospital is the site of one of the nicest native Missouri prairies in the metropolitan Saint Louis area.  Who knew?  Well, employees, patients and guests certainly know about it.  It completely surrounds the campus, offering a beautiful, serene setting in the midst of a very busy urban hospital.

Twenty three acres of native grasses and wildflowers are alive and in tune with nature.  After all, these are same plants that inhabited the Missouri countryside for thousands of years – enriching the soil and nurturing our native animals and insects.  In a brief walk through the prairie, you will see switchgrass, big bluestem, indiangrass, little bluestem and many other native Missouri grasses.  And wildflowers are abundant: the orange flowering butterfly milkweed, the pink flowering swamp milkweed, baptisia, coreopsis, rudbeckias, rattlesnake master and many others.  You also will notice pollinating insects moving from plant to plant as they nourish themselves.  Goldfinches soon will be eating the plentiful coneflower seed heads and butterflies will be sipping nectar from the flowers.  Flora that grew in Missouri centuries ago have returned to reinvigorate the campus.

Our established prairie brings beauty, habitat and a place to rekindle our connection with nature.  It is sustainable and boasts a very low cost for maintenance.  It requires just one mowing per year and no irrigation, fertilizers or pesticides.

If you haven’t enjoyed our Healing Garden, please stroll by and enjoy this amazingly peaceful and beautiful setting.  Native coneflowers are incredibly abundant as are the bright yellow rudbeckias that shine like the sun.  These native wildflowers are blended in with other traditional plants to remind us of the ‘healing presence of God’, which is an important part of our SSM Mission Statement.


Spiderwort- did you know?


Are you familiar with fantastic native of Missouri- found throughout the state in fields, roadsides hillsides – in fact almost everywhere.  The plant, Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohioensis,  is the most common of eight species native to the state.  The species freely hybridize with each other, often making them a botanist nightmare to key out with a one hundred percent certainty.  As a classic monoct flower – it is three merous in all of its purple splendor. Actually the hue of purple can range from blue, to indigo to deep violet creating a great combination for mixing with lanceleaf coreopsis for an awesome show of purple and gold.  Spiderwort is available in the horticultural industry, so they are easy to add to ones home garden.
Did you know the other members of this family?  I’ll bet you are familiar with Wandering Jew, often used for hanging baskets- watch your basket next time it flowers, you will find the 3 merous familiarity of spiderwort in each and every flower.

Wandering Jew

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