Pollinator's Perspective

Category Archives: Pollinators Perspective

Queen Anne’s Lace

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Her Reign.

Every summer in our state, the prairie fields, pastures and road sides are highlighted with brilliant white of her lace.  In fact, you can find her calling card in my front perennial walk planting.  The collective effort which makes up her compound umbel inflorescence is an engineering marvel to behold.  The inverted umbrella like structure supports dozens of small showy white petals packed tightly next to several of these structures.  The end result, a near perfect white laced topped inflorescence suitable for nobility.

Thus Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota ssp. carota  is recognized early on in one’s botanical journey as a flower illustrative of grace and engineering.  Sure the plant is also known as the “Wild Carrot”, such a pedestrian name for a flower so grand.  Today the limited variations of this flower are lumped into one big taxonomic slug.  But if you pay attention, close attention, you will see what my long since passed old friend knew, that every once in a while, the color spills!  So stop for a moment and look at the first picture- the one just of the flower, do you notice the dark black spot in the middle?  Look again, it is not a spot or a native pollinator, nope – it is a flower- in fact it is so intensely red it appears black to all of us mortals.  But my old friend, the late Dr Julian Steyermark, believed that every so often this red pigment was shared throughout the entire inflorescence- the result- a rare pink blushed lace doily- truly fit for a queen.  He believed this was such a spectacular event that he elevated the variation to its own taxon.

What got me thinking of all of this was just last week I was on a site managed by the City of Springfield, while sharing the story of my favorite flower and the cute little red flower in the very center of the inflorescence, I was stunned not to find the flower in the middle.  Upon closer review, the flower was off white – or yes- a very very light pink.  Just to be sure, I layed the flower over to discover pink petioles supporting the umbellate inflorescence.  Needless to say, it was the very variation I was hoping to point out!  That’s joy of nature for you.

 

“When the world wearies, and Society ceases to satisfy,

There is always the Garden!”

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Stormwater Basins at US Grant National Historic Site

Native Landscape Solutions, Inc. has been working at the U S Parks Service, US Grant National Historic Site on a number of ecological projects, including non-native invasive plant control and stormwater basin remediation.  We were selected as the contractor for this work due in part to our plans, designs, and methodology.

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We wanted to share some pictures of the stormwater project, as it has been converted from a plain collection area to an amended soil native plant basin.  Over 1,000 new native plants have been installed which will root deeply to assist in rain water uptake.  They also will add much beauty to the site with seasonal flowers and various textures and heights.  The plants installed at the lower parts of the basin will tolerate higher water levels experienced during a storm, and the plants installed along the upper slopes will tolerate drier conditions.  Many of these plants will bloom this year, but the real show will start in years 2 and 3.  Native plants are very durable and will give the US Grant NHS many years of low maintenance enjoyment.  These plants that were installed are native plants that would have been present in Missouri at the time Grant lived here.  Native Landscape Solutions also added stone work at the water inlets and overflow areas to improve the overall appearance of the basin and to reduce erosion.  We think it looks great.

If you have not visited this great site, please mark a date in your calendar to do so.  It is a very significant historical site and you will enjoy your visit very much

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Installing Stormwater Basins

Installing stormwater basins PROPERLY takes good planning, experienced crews, excellent logistics, and knowledgeable supervision. Native Landscape Solutions, Inc. takes great pride in its track record of installing successful BMPs. We have posted some pictures here as we complete another stormwater basin for McBride and Sons Homes, the largest homebuilder in the metropolitan area. McBride and Sons does a great job as Saint Louis’ premier homebuilder and they place a lot of emphasis on doing everything the right way. This includes their handling of stormwater. We work very closely with them to ensure that each stormwater basin meets MSD’s exacting specifications. We really like working with McBride and Sons and look forward to our next project together.

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A Bountiful Harvest

It is easy to reflect back on the year and enjoy the fruits of your laborers, especially after a four day Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.  The gardening year has had its typical atypical events, wet when one would expect dry, dry when one would expect wet.  All the while, the natives have loaded up on the seed production – packing their inflorescences and seed pods with bundles of botanical wisdom waiting for a chance to explode in the future.  The milkweed pods which I grew up blowing into the wind, all the while marveling how milkweeds could out do the pesky dandelion for seed dispersal, seem take on a new meaning for me now.  Now I wonder where will those giant parachuted seeds land?  When will they germinate?  How long will they last caught up in the prairie duff from the past year? How many pollinators will seek them out for food and nectar?

In mid-November, I spent a weekend upland game hunting just south of the Konza Prairie in Kansas.  Toward the end of the day, partially spent wondering at the prairies and grain fields, I passed the Woodbine Co-Op with mountains of sorghum.  The varying shades of cultivars of the harvest, were mounded 20’ tall in some locations – truly a harvest to garner a moment of awe.   As I spent that late afternoon grooming my Griffon, I again found myself thinking of a bountiful harvest and seed dispersal.  Our Griffon rarely misses a brush pile or thicket- eager to plunge in looking for feathered residents. Nestled or entangled in deep parts of his wire haired coat were seeds from no less than 10 species of forbs and grasses.  None worse of course than the dreaded cocklebur, the only seed worth a nip from the Griffon as I found myself pulling almost each hair from the barbed seed coat of the agricultural menace.  Just that day those nasty cockleburs traveled over 100 miles, no doubt increasing their average distance before falling from their un-expecting mode of transportation.

It is time to collect seeds to disperse again in spots of our prairie missing a few, it is time to be stewards of the native parcels in an unique way.  And yes, it is time to sit back and revel in the bountiful harvest and all of the future promise it holds.

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

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It Happened Again

It Happened Again… Seems every time I have taken a picture of a wildflower this spring, it seems that I have gotten more than expected.  Time after time as I review each photo I find a pollinator climbing among the petals.  Flower color and location don’t seem to matter, each photo seems to have a native bee, beetle or a butterfly busy at work amongst the stamens.  Just this past week as I observed a planting of red prairie clover, you know the one with iridescent orange pollen covering its stamens, almost every flower was being visited by a honeybee or a bumble bee. Every one of the pollen collectors was loaded with bright orange pollen stashed to over flowing.  It was a busy site for sure, loaded with pollinators hell bent for making the most of this Spring and Summers flower crop. I say all this, because I am thinking these overlooked creatures have always been doing their jobs, just seemingly unnoticed.

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What this really means is that these little unnoticed creatures have been busy doing their job in the environment with little fan fair and almost no recognition, at least till now.  At long last, pollinators and their allies are starting to receive the accolades and recognition they deserve.  This past week  or so the St Louis Zoo hosted a pollinators dinner to celebrate and raise awareness of pollinators in our daily lives. So next time you snap a frame, look for the pollinator, I’ll bet you will find one!

When the World wearies and Society ceases to satisfy, there is always the Garden.

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