Resolutions to Help Pollinators

Happy New Year!

Here are a few ways you can help pollinators this year. This is a resolution that will be fun and easy to keep.

Offer a Drink & a Home
Bees need water to drink. Create a water feature with rocks for insects to land. Be sure to keep birdbaths clean and change the water three times per week when mosquitoes are breeding. Build a bee house or insect hotel to provide nesting and shelter for pollinators.
Plant Native
Plant native plants in your landscape. There are so many amazing plants to choose from. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: plains coreopsis, pasque flower, pitcher sage, purple coneflower, smooth aster and rough gayfeather. Do not for get trees and shrubs!
Bloom all Season
It is important to have native flowers blooming the whole growing season. Pollinators need plants blooming March through November.
Plant Milkweed
Monarchs need our help. Provide food for monarch butterfly caterpillars. There are several milkweeds to choose from: butterfly milkweed, common milkweed, whorled milkweed and swamp milkweed.
No Chemicals
Protect pollinators by eliminating pesticides from your landscape. Plant native plants that have few pest or disease issues. Maintain a healthy soil by composting. Healthy soils produce healthy plants.
“Bee” Involved
Learn more about organizations that support pollinators such as Pollinator Partnership. You can participate in citizen scientist programs for pollinators such as Bumble Boosters-University of Nebraska, Bumble Bee Watch-Xerces Society, The Great Sunflower Project-San Francisco State University and the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project-Monarch Watch.

MJ Frogge


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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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

UNL Gardens on East Campus

There are three must see gardens located at University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus in Lincoln Nebraska. All have plants for pollinators.


Back Yard Farmer Garden, located east of Keim Hall. Flower, vegetable and herb garden with All-America Selection plants.

Yeutter Gardens, located between Dairy Store and Maxwell Arboretum. Many perennial flowers.

The Pollinator Gardens, located east of the Vet Complex. Many pollinator plants, bee house and a huge honeycomb structure. Plan to attend the walking tour in July.

MJ Frogge

UNL Gardens Walking Tour

POLLINATOR GARDENS-East Campus, Lincoln Nebraska

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Dept. of Entomology Pollinator Gardens

The gardens consist of a Water-wise planting, a Pollinator Prairie, and a Pollinator Plot that includes areas specifically for Swallowtail and Monarch larvae.

Directions: Head east off the East Campus Loop between the Law College and Vet Complex, veer right at the end of the road and go through the gate. Follow the white rock road.

Husker Red

Blooming now in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat is Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red.’ ‘Husker Red’ grows 2 to 3 feet tall. The flowers are white with a pink tinge. The foliage is a stunning burgundy. It does best in well-drained soils and full sun. This plant ‘Husker Red’ was introduced by the University of Nebraska. It was selected as the 1996 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association.

MJ Frogge


Iris Blooming in Habitat

This iris is special. Iris spuria ‘Fontanelle’ was discovered on an old farmstead near Fontanelle, Nebraska.

This town is named after Logan Fontenelle, an interpreter and Omaha chief who was born at Bellevue, NE in May, 1825.  His mother was a daughter of Big Elk, noted chief of the Omaha.

Description: Found years ago at an old farmstead, near Fontanelle. An unsurpassed, neat garden plant with elegant, large flowers of violet-blue, whose lavender-rose falls each bear a bright yellow spot. Flowers first two weeks of June. Wonderful, sword-like foliage.

This beautiful iris is blooming now in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat.

MJ Frogge


Spring Flowering Bulbs

One of my favorite plants is blooming now, Snowdrops! This stunning and tough little flower benefits pollinators. If the temperature is above 4o degrees F when it is blooming, you will find honey bees visiting these delightful flowers.

Other spring flowering bulbs that benefit pollinators include Glory-of-the-Snow and Crocus. Consider planting these bulbs this fall in your pollinator habitat.

MJ Frogge


Snowdrops blooming in February. Can you find the honeybee?

Perennial Plant of the Year-It’s a Native!


Butterfly milkweed

Every year the Perennial Plant Association designates a “Perennial Plant of the Year.” This announcement is well know among gardeners and horticulturists like me.  I usually have it as a featured article in the Horticulture section of our county newsletter the Nebline. The 2017’s selection made me jump with joy! It is an important native pollinator plant, butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa).  This plant will be recognized and promoted extensively this year.  I am hopeful many gardeners will plant it and continue to add native plants to their landscape. It is beneficial to Monarchs and other native pollinators.

MJ Frogge