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

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

October

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.

Happy fall,

MJ Frogge

Plants for Butterflies

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.

MJ Frogge

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.

Summer Flowers

Amazing flowers bloom during the summer months. We have a great collection of native flowers in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. The weather has been good and we have had plenty of rain. Summer blooming native plants are so important to pollinators. It is important to have a variety and have them in mass plantings. Native plants that have bloomed in the habitat this summer include: purple coneflower, butterfly milkweed, two varieties of beebalm, black-eyed Susan, blanket flower, fleabane, vervain, chicory, swamp milkweed and lead plant. Enjoy the summer flowers!

MJ Frogge

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Plant Herbs

The month of May has been very pleasant and perfect planting weather.  You still have time to plant and I recommend planting herbs.  Herbs are great for us to eat and also for many of our favorite butterfly caterpillars. Dill and parsley are important food sources for swallowtail caterpillars. I planted dill seed several weeks ago and it is coming up nicely.  You still have time to plant the seed.

dill

Plant herbs that have flowers beneficial to butterflies and bees. Consider planting basil, oregano, sage and thyme. I hope to get my basil plants in the ground later today before we get another nice rain tomorrow.

basil

Hope your pollinator habitat is off to a good start this year and you are enjoying it as much as the pollinators and wildlife will.

BEE safe, MJ Frogge