Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs

Last week I planted spring flowering bulbs in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. I planted crocus, glory-of-the-snow and grape hyacinth. These spring bulbs are beneficial to early pollinators like honey bees and some native bees. Many of these pollinators are out early in the spring and need these early blooming plants. Spring bulbs are an easy addition to your habitat and you can still plant them, but do it soon!  Other bulbs include snowdrops (my favorite), winter aconite, daffodil, fritillaria and Siberian squill.

MJ Frogge

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Praying Mantid Egg Case

Yesterday was a great fall day to be in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Jody and I were weeding and doing a little bit of clean up. While we were doing this, we found a few Chinese praying mantids egg cases. They are roundish and look like foam. The Carolina mantid egg case is flat, rectangular shaped and smaller. Both mantids are found in Nebraska.

If you find praying mantid egg cases on your plants or in the landscape, you should leave them alone. Each egg case contain up to two hundred eggs. In the spring the nymphs will emerge and they look like tiny versions of adult mantids. These insects are beneficial because they eat insect pests. But they can also eat other beneficial insects as well.

MJ Frogge

Spring Bulbs for Pollinators

Fall is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs. These plants are the first bloomers in the spring. They are important for pollinators that are out early looking for flowers. Plant bulbs in groups so you will have a mass of flowers come springtime.

Snow drops are the first bulbs to bloom in the spring. In February and March, if the temperature is over 40 degrees F, you will find honeybees out on snow drop flowers.

snowdropbee216

Bees also can be found on crocus.

Glory-of-the-snow is a beautiful little bulb that comes in blue, pink and white.

Grape hyacinth is bulb that will spread and multiple over the years.

Hope you will consider adding spring bulbs to your pollinator habitat. They will be a wonderful addition to your garden and beneficial to the early spring pollinators.

MJ Frogge

Painted Ladies Everywhere!

During the month of September we have enjoyed the migration of painted lady butterflies. Entomologists suggest the high population is because of a great summer season of breeding that boosted the population.  Omaha, Lincoln and the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat have experienced large populations this month. Neighboring states, Colorado, Iowa and Kansas have seen increased populations as well. Enjoy them while they are here.

MJ Froggepainted ladies

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

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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

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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

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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

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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