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-Cerciscanadensis, 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.
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.
This week we celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day. We are having fantastic weather, so hope you are able to get outside and plant.
Eastern redbud tree.
Dandelion, see the tiny bee?
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.
Spring is here and we are enjoying the roller coaster of temperatures. Warm & sunny one day, cloudy & cold the next. That is spring in Nebraska. Due to COVID-19 we have a new normal to our life. Nebraska Extension staff are working remotely and the office is closed. I am disappointed I can not be in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat, it is a special place. I like to watch the plants emerge and the start of bee activity. We can watch the Live Habitat Web Cam, so that does help me keep an eye on what is going on. You can watch too by clicking the link above.
I hope everyone is spending time in their home pollinator habitat. I have been. It is nice to spend lunch time outside seeing what is blooming and plotting my next project. Now is a good time to make a list of spring blooming plants you need to add to your habitat. Consider spring blooming bulbs like scilla, crocus, snowdrops, striped squill and glory-of-the-snow. Spring blooming trees include redbud, plums and cherries. Perennials that bloom in the spring are Dutchman’s breeches, spring beauty and pasqueflower.
Today I started flower and herb seeds under grow lights. Growing your own transplants is a great way to add annuals, perennials and herbs to your landscape for pollinators. I started basil, parsley, borage, salvia, tithonia and calendula.
Spindly growth is a common problem when growing transplants indoors. It is best to place the seedlings under artificial light. It is not necessary to have a grow light plant stand. A standard shop light fixture with one cool and one warm fluorescent tube light works fine. Or you can purchase an inexpensive ready to go, out of the box, shop light with LED lights. For best results, the lights should be approximately 1 inch above the seedlings. Raise the light as the seedlings grow. Leave the lights on 12 to 16 hours a day.
Many flowers do well or better as direct planting outside. Plant zinnia and sunflower seeds after the chance for frost has past and the ground temperature is consistently warm, over 55 degrees F. This usually occurs in mid to late May.
Milkweed is up! We have common, butterfly and swamp milkweed growing in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. I am anxious to see my first Monarch in the habitat. I know many pollinator watchers have had their first sighting already.
Near the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat wild plum and willow trees are blooming. These plants are important early blooming flowers for pollinators. Wild violets and dandelions are also blooming. Yesterday we taught youth about habitats at an outdoor education event at a nearby state park. It was great to show the students the early blooming flowers we saw, white trout lily and Dutchman’s breeches. Hope you can get outside this weekend and see what is blooming.
Yesterday, March 20, was the Spring Equinox. Spring is here and we are so grateful. Nebraska has endured record snow fall and flooding, so we are happy to have sunny spring weather.
Now is a good time to think about what plants you could add to your pollinator habitat. The Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification program has an excellent list of spring, summer and fall blooming plants that are native to Nebraska. Look over the impressive plant list and also consider certifying your pollinator habitat. Learn more at this link: https://entomology.unl.edu/pollinator-habitat-certification
Spring blooming plants are important for early pollinators. This morning in the habitat I saw a queen bumblebee on a dandelion flower. Blooming this month we had pasque flower, wild plum, prairie ragwort, peach leaf willow and redbud.
The spring bulbs I planted last October are blooming in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Grape hyacinth, crocus and glory-of-the-snow all bloomed this spring. They are excellent early blooming plants to add to your pollinator habitat. Consider planing spring flowering bulbs this fall.