Pollinator's Perspective

Category Archives: Pollinators Perspective

Why Plant a Prairie?

Prairies are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional high maintenance landscapes.  Our native flowers and grasses are stunning both as individuals and as a complete prairie plant community.  Native landscapes provide beauty, habitat, and a place to rekindle our connection with nature.

 

Prairies require no fertilizers or fungicides and few herbicides.  They create a high quality habitat for birds, butterflies, pollinators, and other beneficial wildlife.  Deep rooted prairie plants encourage infiltration of rainwater into the soil, helping to reduce stormwater runoff and flooding.

Native Landscape Solutions, Inc.  wanted to share with you a few photos of native prairie at Mercy Virtual Care, a magnificent new building in west Saint Louis County.  We planted this prairie about 18 months ago and it already is a beautiful site, featuring Coreopsis, Indian Paintbrush, Beardstongue, and many warm season grasses.  Our Ecological Specialists have been working hard to encourage growth of the good plants and diminish the growth of the bad plants.  The results?  The site looks great.  We appreciate the trust and confidence our clients place in us.

   

Which is Your Favorite Shade of Yellow?

I would imagine if I had been an art major in school, or even took some illustration classes I might be able to explain the difference between “warm” colors and “cool” ones- or pastel colors versus hot colors.  But none the less I have to admit “Yellow” is one of my favorite colors for a native landscape.  After all, yellow shows up from miles away!  I cannot possibly imagine what a field of Lanceleaf Coreopsis looks like to pollinators and birds.  In my head I think all of the Goldfinches punching in a GPS location of the blooming Coreopsis- why?  Because all Finches love Coreopsis seed!

The Missouri Primrose is an incredible native, growing in beds and bluffs,  hillsides and glades.  Its soft yellow flowers open wide and brighten any niche in which they grow.  The seed of the Primrose?  That is the worthy subject of another blog- wait till you see the pictures!

Until then,,,When the world wearies, and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the Garden.

The Monarchs Are Back!

Spring is an exciting time of year. The flowers are blooming, the trees are leafing out, and the birds are singing. Also, the monarch butterflies are back!  April is a little early for Monarchs, but this year they have arrived a little early.  The ones we are seeing now with faded bedraggled wings flew here all the way from Mexico to lay their eggs.  Monarchs migrate every fall to Mexico to overwinter in the mountains of Morelia and return to the United States when temperatures warm in the spring. Luckily, the milkweed here in Missouri is sprouting too. Milkweed leaves are the only food eaten by monarch caterpillars.  Recently, at a client’s home, we saw a monarch butterfly that had migrated from Mexico laying her eggs on a butterfly milkweed that was barely an inch tall.  She could tell what it was even though we couldn’t! We also found eggs on a common milkweed at St. Clare Hospital. We are hoping this bodes well for monarch populations, which have been declining in recent years.

  

Managed Burning

 

Burning is a natural process in Missouri ecosystems and can also be used as a management tool. Native Missouri plants are adapted to burning and will respond positively. The soil is warmed, and nutrients are quickly returned to the system. The native plants respond with vigorous growth. Winter is the safest and best time to conduct a prescribed burn, for people and ecosystems. Cold weather insures that wildlife is still hibernating, not nesting and that tender spring growth has not emerged. We always ensure a well behaved fire by only burning in sites with good fire lines and favorable weather conditions. Burning can also be used to kill invasive species such as bush honeysuckle and undesirable natives such as eastern red cedar that are not adapted to fire. We have had great success with using burning as a management tool to encourage natives, and our customers are very happy with our results.

What is the Prettiest Plant in the Winter?

 

Ilex decidua is a Missouri native, deciduous holly that is commonly called possum haw. It occurs on limestone glades and bluffs, along streams in wet woods, and in lowland valleys, sloughs and swamps. An upright shrub with a spreading, rounded crown which typically grows 7-15′ tall in cultivation (to 30′ in the wild). Obovate, narrow, glossy, dark green leaves (2-3″ long) turn a dull purplish green to yellow in autumn. The whitish flowers of both male and female plants are relatively inconspicuous. Pollinated female flowers give way to orange-red berries which ripen in September and persist throughout the winter until mid-March when new growth begins. Birds, deer and a variety of small mammals (including opossums as the common name suggests) are attracted to the fruit.

We took these pictures during the last ice storm in Saint Louis and wanted to share them with you.  Some people think native plants have to be durable but maybe not attractive.  Well, you certainly can see, the possum haw is just breathtaking.  It is a beautiful, durable plant all year, but in the winter it is a real standout – especially with a coating of ice over the bright red berries.  We hope you enjoy these pictures and decide that Missouri native plants might be the perfect plants for your next landscaping project.

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