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

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: https://unl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-Dc-CqA2T1C3ccOiHZ_JZw

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

Decorate Outdoor Trees with Fruit Garland

An easy way to decorate outdoor trees that will benefit wildlife too, is to make a fruit garland.

Supplies:

cranberries

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.

MJ Frogge

Feeding Birds

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.

MJ Frogge

Finch sock feeder
Sunflower seed feeder
Feeders in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat