September Blooming

The Cherry Creek Pollinator habitat is full of color and life. There are so many important native plants blooming now. These plants are important because they are used by migrating butterflies like monarch and painted ladies. They are also important to the native bees and other beneficial insects that will be active until the first hard frost. Blooming in the habitat right now is smooth aster, tall thistle, sawtooth sunflower, goldenrod and pitcher sage.

MJ Frogge

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Calvert Rec Center Pollinator Garden

This week I visited the Calvert Rec Center Pollinator Garden. Two Nebraska Extension Lancaster County Master Gardeners, Nance and Mary, planted and maintain this garden as a volunteer project. They have planted many native plants that are labeled for the public to view. They have installed a bee water station and have spent hours weeding this impressive garden site.  Thank you for hard work and dedication to pollinators!

MJ Frogge

Youth Building for Pollinators

Wednesday was 4-H exhibit entry day at the Nebraska State Fair. While I was helping 4-H staff enter the exhibits for Lancaster county, I took a couple minutes to look at exhibits from other counties. I was really pleased at what I saw at the fair. Several 4-H youth had entered bee houses and small insect hotels. They were very clever with their designs and I managed to get pictures of a few of them. It is great to see Nebraska youth interested in pollinators and stepping up to help them.

Here is a NebGuide to help you get started building bee houses:

http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/g2256.pdf

MJ Frogge

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

August Blooming Plants

There are many wonderful native plants blooming in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat this month.  The butterflies and bees are in large numbers and it is great to be in the habitat watching all the activity.  Purple coneflower, tall thistle, Joe pye weed, pitcher sage, swamp milkweed, Rudbeckia and whorled milkweed are all blooming now.

MJ Frogge

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Five Years!

This is the 5th summer for the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat!  It is amazing to see how much we have accomplished in 5 years. We started with a neglected lawn area behind our office and turned it into a thriving habitat for pollinators and wildlife. The habitat is a great place to teach youth, adults, Master Gardeners and even our own staff about the importance of pollinators. Every time I visit the habitat I see or learn something new. It has been a rewarding experience and I hope it has been an inspiration for you as well.

MJ Frogge

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Accomplishments

Two educational signs

One solitary bee house

One insect hotel

Three water stations

Weather station

Live habitat web cam

Picnic table and bench

Bird feeding stations

Over 40 native plants with name labels

Over 190 stems of common milkweed for monarchs and other beneficial insects

Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification Program site

Hours of educational outreach for youth and adults

The Buzz at Cherry Creek blog

Culver’s Root, Must Have Pollinator Plant

Culver’s root, Veronicastrum virginicum, is an impressive plant and quite stunning in full bloom. I have this flowering in my home pollinator habitat now and just love it! The flowers are white and resemble an elegant candelabra. It blooms from late June into August. It can reach heights of 3-6 feet tall and adds an amazing vertical element to the landscape. Culver’s root is native to Nebraska and prefers a moist site. It grows well in full sun to part shade. It is an herbaceous perennial that grows in a clump with a rhizome root system, but is not aggressive. Culver’s root has lance-shaped, whorled leaves that are dark green and attractive through the season.

Culver’s root is important to many native pollinators. This plant is visited by leafcutter bees, bumblebees, sweat bees, syrphid flies, red admiral butterflies and soldier beetles.

There are no serious insect or disease problems with Culver’s root. Long flower spikes provide a noticeable accent and impressive vertical height for landscape borders, rain gardens or pollinator habitats.

MJ Frogge

Culver's Root in LandscapeCulver's Root

Nature’s Fireworks

Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, has an amazing flower. To me it looks like a bursting firework display.  This native shrub is blooming in my home habitat now.  It can grow in part shade and prefers moist soil. Perfect plant for a rain garden. Bees love this pollinator plant.

MJ Frogge

ButtonbushBumblebee on Buttonbush flower.

Pollinator Education and Homes

Yesterday Soni, Jody and I taught a pollinator session for Habitat Discovery.  This was part of a week long day camp experience for youth at the Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln. We wanted the kids to build an insect hotel on location that would benefit pollinators and be a lasting addition to the Outdoor Education Center. This was an ambitious task, since it took Soni and I about three months to gather supplies to build the insect hotel located at the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. I asked Lancaster County Master Gardeners to collect twigs, pinecones and egg cartons for the project. The kids had a great time building the insect hotel and it was quite impressive after our two hour program.  The youth learned what solitary bees were and where they like to nest. They also got to make solitary bee homes out of recycled materials to take home and place in their landscapes. When the insect hotel was finished there was a solitary bee ready to check in!

MJ Frogge

Solitary Bee House make from recycled materials.Making Insect HotelInsect Hotel

City Mission Gardens

Every Tuesday Lancaster County Master Gardeners assist Dave from our office at the City Mission Garden. Dave started the garden a few years ago as education outreach for Mission residents who wanted to learn to garden. Residents come and go, but Dave and the master gardeners are there consistently through the spring, summer and fall. Vegetables are collected each week and used in the City Mission kitchen. Today they had broccoli, onions and herbs. Master Gardener Jane planted wildflowers and now there is a beautiful pollinator garden too. She hopes to have a good selection of plants that bloom during each season to apply for the Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification Program.

MJ Frogge

Mission Vegetable garden and Master GardenersMission Pollinator Garden with Jane

Bee Fun Day

We wrapped up National Pollinator Week by attending Bee Fun Day at NEREC August N. Christenson Research & Education Building near Ithaca Nebraska yesterday. This event was sponsored by the Nebraska Beekeepers Association and Nebraska Extension. Soni, Jody and I had a youth activity booth for kids to make paper flowers and pipe cleaner caterpillars. We talked about what native plants are important to our native pollinators and what caterpillars need to eat to eventually turn into butterflies. We also took some time with our fellow Extension staff to scout for pollinators around the NEREC grounds.

MJ Frogge