A Bountiful Harvest
- Monday, 30 November 2015 22:28
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.
It Happened Again
- Monday, 29 June 2015 13:41
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.
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.
A Pollinators Perspective
- Monday, 29 June 2015 13:40
It all started innocently enough, a new client, walking his site to review plantings, expectations and the promise of another year of growth for new prairie landscape. Lots of great things happening, Red Prairie Clover in full bloom alive with Honey Bees and Bumble bees, their pollen sacks bursting with vibrant orange pollen. Rattlesnakemaster reaching to the sky with pure white globes towering like beacons over the tops of Prairie Dropseed. The seeded portions of the prairie garden where showing signs of maturing. The early success of Lanceleaf Coreopsis and Partridge Pea being joined in concert with Purple Coneflower, False Indigo and Black-Eyed Susan.
And then it happened, the question, “What should I spray on my plants to keep the bugs off?” It was an honest question, and a typical one for a homeowner seeking to protect their investment in plants. It was also the question, the one that defines if the client has thought the whole process thru. Installing enough of our desired favorites for both us to enjoy and the native wildlife to live off of is a unique concept. I realize that planting enough desirable species for local deer population would be un-possible. But pollinators are different, are they not? Pollinators and their various life forms require our desired natives to support their entire life cycle- not just their pretty wing patterns. Back to the question, the real answer is a simple one, we do not treat the insects in this type of environment with insecticides. The simple answer is the very larvae( worms or caterpillars) we are counting on to create butterflies are the ones eating holes in the leaves of our desirables. The thought provoking answer is, “ Hey, let us figure out how to add more of those species into your garden – so yes- we can attract even more leaf eating future pollinators.
When the World wearies, and Society ceases to satisfy, there is always the Garden.
Pollinator Gardens Are Important
- Thursday, 14 May 2015 22:21
Animals can roam about and seek mates with whom to reproduce, but imagine the challenge for a plant, rooted firmly to the ground, to achieve the same end. Pollinators, which include thousands of insect species (bees, tiny wasps, butterflies, beetles, and flies) and other animals (such as hummingbirds and bats), unwittingly move pollen from the male anther of one flower to the female stigma of another as they search for sweet, nourishing nectar and fat- and protein-rich pollen.
The amazing diversity of flowers results in large part from their fascinating adaptations that have evolved to lure pollinators. After all, every aspect of a flower, from the designs on its petals to the timing of its blooming, is vital to the process! In this unique alliance, flowers become fertilized and capable of producing seeds, and everybody wins. But, what’s it to us? For starters, one out of every three bites of food we eat is made possible by a pollinator, and 80 percent of all flowering plants rely on pollinators for survival. Without them, our gardens and lives would be less fruitful.
Native Landscape Solutions knows native plants and how to use them in pollinator garden design and installation. We have seeded miles of native seed for the development of pollinator gardens. We have the experience, knowledge, skill, crews and equipment to help you with your important pollinator garden project. Let our experience help you achieve your native plant dreams.
Call us today – we stand ready to serve you.