Decorate Your Trees While Feeding Birds and Wildlife

Feeding the birds has never been so fun. Decorate your trees with homemade garland and wildlife friendly ornaments.

Fruit Garland

Decorate outdoor trees with a fruit garland of cranberries, orange & apples slices. Supplies needed include cotton string and a large sewing needle. Alternate different fruits to make your own design. Remove string from the tree when fruit is gone, to prevent girdling the branches.

Pine Cone Bird Feeder

Supplies needed: pine cones, cotton string, peanut butter, bird seed and a spoon. Tie 8-inch string around pinecone and  make a loop. Cover pinecone with peanut butter. Roll peanut butter pine cone in birdseed. Make several and hang on tree branches. Remove string when birdseed is gone.

Suet Cakes

You can purchase suit cakes or make your own.

Recipe for homemade suet (source Penn State Extension)

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup vegetable shortening

4 cups cornmeal

1 cup flour

1 cup sunflower seeds (optional)

Suet can be frozen in blocks and placed in suet feeders. Or use cookie cutters for making different shapes. Place large cookie cutters on a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Fill cookie cutters with suet mixture. Put in freezer. When hard, pop out of cookie cutter, place in suit cage bird feeder and hang in tree.

Enjoy, MJ Frogge

Obsessive Tidiness Disorder

Does anyone you know have Obsessive Tidiness Disorder? British Entomologist Douglas Boyes discusses this in his 2018 blog. Please take a few minutes to read.

Obsessive Tidiness Disorder or: How we can learn to stop worrying and love nature’s messiness

Douglas unfortunately past away recently, but his message is one we all need to hear and think about.

Education, sharing our knowledge and leading by example is the best way to help our pollinators and wildlife. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Share the benefits of being less tidy.

MJ Frogge

Cup Plant, Silphium perfoliatum

Cup plant is a native perennial that is 3-6 feet tall with numerous large, yellow composite flowers. The leaves are joined at stem to form a small cup that holds water that attracts insects and birds. We have several cup plants in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. It started flowering in early July and is still blooming. This would be a great addition to any pollinator habitat.

MJ Frogge

Backyard Farmer Garden

I had the chance to visit the Backyard Farmer Garden this month. The garden is located in the center of University of Nebraska-Lincoln, East Campus.

It is a great place to explore, see All America Selection (AAS) winners and view great gardening techniques. This teaching garden is also a pollinator habitat. Here are a few plants I found:

Dill, Anethum graveolens– great plant for swallowtail caterpillars.

Compass plant, Silphium laciniatum– native plant with yellow flowers, for bees and butterflies.

Joe-pye weed, Eutrochium purpureum– Tall, late summer blooming perennial, for bees.

Gay feather, Liatris spicata– Purple prairie plant for bumble bees.

Hope you can take time to visit this wonderful garden.

MJ Frogge

Leafcutter Bees in the Habitat

Happy Pollinator Week! Leafcutter bees are active in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Leafcutter bees are important pollinators and are members of the family Megachilidae. I added new blocks and paper straws for leafcutter bees in the solitary bee house. You know you have leafcutter bees in your landscape when you see the discs of leaves that are snipped from nearby plants. The damage is very minimal and will not harm the plants. Leafcutter bees are not aggressive, so you can safely be close and watch them work.

To make a solitary bee house, check out this NebGuide:

MJ Frogge

Pollinator Week! What is Blooming?

Happy Pollinator Week!! It is a great time to visit the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. So many wonderful plants are blooming in June. Rudbeckia, hoary vervain, common milk weed, butterfly milkweed, purple poppy mallow, common yarrow, beebalm and fleabane. All these plants are great for our pollinators.

MJ Frogge

Pollinator Programs

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:

MJ Frogge

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

Spring Blooming Trees

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-Cercis canadensis, 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.

MJ Frogge

Eastern Redbud
Wild Plum
Peachleaf Willow

Ready for Spring

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.

Happy spring,

MJ Frogge