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

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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What is Blooming in April?

This week we celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day. We are having fantastic weather, so hope you are able to get outside and plant.

Many great pollinator plants are blooming now. They include pasque flower, redbud, Dutchman’s breeches, white trout lily, Virginia bluebells, spring beauty, wild plum and dandelions. Yes, dandelions are a great early blooming plant for pollinators.  I found tiny native bees visiting the plants.  Let a few plants remain and bloom in your habitat.  Remove the dead flowers before they go to seed.

MJ Frogge

Seed Heads

You many think there is not much to see in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat this time of year. It may be brown, but there is a lot to see. We do not cut back the habitat plants in the fall. This plant material is cover and protection for the birds, squirrels, opossum, rabbits, raccoons, skunks and deer that frequent the habitat during the winter. The seed heads from our native plants bee balm, goldenrod, brown-eyed Susan, tall thistle, milkweed and sawtooth sunflower feed our wildlife and also reseed themselves for more plants next year.

MJ Frogge

October Snow

Snow came to the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat overnight. It is a reminder that seasons change and winter is on its way. The trees are getting their fall color and the native grasses are beautiful with their tall seed head plumes. Milkweed pods are popping open and releasing their seeds and silky fluff. Nebraska is gorgeous in the fall.

MJ Frogge

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Asters Blooming

Asters are blooming in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Asters are hardy perennials that bloom late summer until the first hard frost. Many asters are native to Nebraska and are a late-season source of pollen for bees, migrating monarchs and other pollinators.

Asters native to Nebraska include:

Smooth aster – 2-4 feet tall with purple flowers

Prairie aster – 3-4 feet tall with lavender flowers

Heath aster – 1-3 feet tall with white flowers

New England aster – 3-5 feet tall with pink, red-violet, purple or blue flowers

Asters are easy to grow and look great in a mass planting. They can be planted with other native plants like purple coneflower, coreopsis, black-eyed Susan and native grasses.

The main plant disease is powdery mildew, it causes a whitish growth that appears on leaves. To reduce the chance of this disease, make sure asters are in full sun and plants are not crowded.

MJ Frogge

Blooming in July

The Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat is full of bees and butterflies this month. We are seeing many native plants blooming in July:  Rosinweed, Illinois bundleflower, swamp milkweed, wild bergamot, purple coneflower, hoary vervain, and chicory. It is wonderful to have a diverse selection of plants in our pollinator habitat.

MJ Frogge

Blooming in June

We are seeing so many great native plants blooming in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat in June. Bee balm, purple poppy mallow, butterfly milkweed, common milkweed,  prairie fleabane and common yarrow. It is important to have a diverse selection of plants for a pollinator habitat.

MJ Frogge