Please join us starting next week for the GRO Big Red, 3-part, virtual learning series on Pollinators. Nebraska Extension horticulturists and entomologists will be presenting this educational series. Visit this link to sign up for the free programs: https://unl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-Dc-CqA2T1C3ccOiHZ_JZw
May 4 6:30-7:30pm: Creating a Pollinator Habitat Panelist: Kathleen Cue
May 11 6:30-7:30pm: Bees, Butterflies and Beyond Panelists: Jody Green and Kait Chapman
May 18 6:30-7:30pm: Pollinator Blooms for All Seasons Panelists: Mary Jane Frogge and Kelly Feehan
Earth Day was yesterday and Arbor Day is celebrated next week. It was great to be out in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat to see what is blooming. Spring blooming trees are important to the early pollinators. We have three early blooming trees in the habitat. Eastern redbud-Cerciscanadensis, wild plum-Prunus americana and peachleaf willow-Salix amygdaloides are all blooming now. All these trees are native to the United States and benefit early pollinators. Hope you can add a spring blooming tree to your landscape this year.
February was very cold with lots of snow. We are definitely ready for warmer temperatures. Most of the February snow has melted. Under the snow was snowdrops, just waiting to see the sun. This early spring bulb is great for honey bees. They visit these flowers on warm days. Consider planting spring flowering bulbs like snowdrops, glory-of-the-snow, crocus and squill this fall.
An easy way to decorate outdoor trees that will benefit wildlife too, is to make a fruit garland.
oranges cut in 1/2 inch slices
apples cut in 1/2 inch slices
cotton string, 3 feet long
large sewing needle
Directions: Put the cotton string on the large sewing needle and make a knot at the end of the string. Put the cranberries, oranges and apples on the string to make the garland. Alternate the different fruits to make your own design. Attach the garland to tree branches. Be careful not to injure the branches by tying the string too tight. Remove the string from the tree when the fruit is gone, to prevent girdling the branches later.
Last week I placed sock feeders for the American Goldfinch we have in and around the Cherry Creek Pollinator habitat. I also put up the sunflower seed bird feeder for our seed eating birds. We often see Dark-eyed Junco and Northern Cardinals in or near the habitat. It is important to keep your feeders filled through the winter because birds and wildlife will rely on them through the winter season.
If you are done with your fall decorations like pumpkins and corn, they will make great food for wildlife in your habitat. Do not cut back native flower seed heads like purple coneflower. They are excellent winter food for birds.
It is October in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Last night the habitat hosted the 4-H Horticulture club. The youth and their parents toured the habitat and learned about the solitary bee house and insect hotel. The youth started their nature journaling project by spending time observing everything around them and recording what they saw. They finished up the evening making solitary bee houses to place in their home landscapes next year.
The Master Gardeners visited the habitat today to help prune back the wild that grew over the summer. They pruned some of the plant material so the bench, picnic table and pathways are more accessible.
The habitat looks wonderful and is showing fall color. The tall cottonwood always leads the way with its golden leaves.
I often get asked “What perennials should I plant for butterflies?” The plant selection can be overwhelming especially if you have a small space. Here are a few suggestions. I have included pictures I have taken over the past 5 years of the plants and the butterflies.
Monarch on aster, Comma on common milkweed, Painted Lady on tall sedum, Monarch on Liatris, Tiger swallowtail on Monarda, Buckeye on Thyme, Painted lady on purple coneflower, Border patch on Rudbeckia, Crescent on butterfly milkweed, Monarch on swamp milkweed, Grey hairstreak on mint, Painted lady on goldenrod, Border patch on sawtooth sunflower and Black swallowtail on tall thistle.