Sunflower seed bird feeder.
Finch sock bird feeder.
The Cherry Creek Habitat hosts many American Goldfinch. I placed three sock feeders for them in our mature trees that border the habitat. I also hung the sunflower seed bird feeder for our seed eating birds. We often see Dark-eyed Junco and Northern Cardinals in or near the habitat.
M J Frogge
Today the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat hosted a Master Gardener Lunch & Learn. Master Gardeners brought their lunch, toured the habitat and learn more about our bee structures and plant selection for pollinators. They constructed a solitary bee nest to place in their home landscape next year from recycled and repurposed items. Master Gardeners also made nature journals and spent time in the pollinator habitat observing nature. The Cherry Creek Habitat is the perfect place to lunch and learn.
Master Gardeners make solitary bee nests.
At the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat we have included many native grasses. We have established Indiangrass, little bluestem, big bluestem, switchgrass and sideoats grama. The fall color and seed heads are at their best now. If you plan to add ornamental grasses to your landscape, consider native grasses. You will not be disappointed.
Native grasses, like Indiangrass, established in the pollinator habitat.
Last week I attended the UNL Entomology, Agronomy and Horticulture Pollinator Garden and Outdoor Classroom open house. This new garden is located on East Campus in the teaching gardens. Dr. Doug Golick, from the UNL Entomology Department led the tour. Pollinator plots have been seeded with native plants. A water wise garden area, pollinator food plot and larval habitat are also part of this pollinator garden. We viewed many pollinators while we toured the garden.
Nebraska Extension is in the process of forming nineteen new issue teams. I joined the “Protect beneficial insect ecosystems including pollinators” Team. In November this new state wide team will meet for the first time to discuss and plan our mission for the coming year. This team was organized because Nebraskans see beneficial insects and pollinators as a priority.
Pollinator Garden and Outdoor Classroom on East Campus.
Water wise garden.
Honeycomb structure in pollinator garden.
Open house for UNL Entomology, Agronomy and Horticulture Pollinator Garden and Outdoor Classroom.
Southern Plains bumblebee on purple cone flower.
Sometimes we get lucky and see wildlife in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Today it was a gray tree frog. The bee house is not just for solitary bees after all.
Can you see the tree frog?
Tree frog resting in the solitary bee house.
Asters are one of my favorite flowers. Smooth aster, Aster laevis, is blooming now in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. This native aster produces an abundance of lavender-blue flowers through late autumn.
Smooth Aster is upright with arching branches and reaches 3 feet tall. It easily grows in dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Asters are a must for your perennial garden. All bees, bumble bees and butterflies flock to asters. They are an excellent stopover plant for migrating Monarchs.
Bumble bee on Pitcher’s sage.
Pitcher’s sage (Salvia azurea) has been blooming in the habitat for a few weeks. It has an amazing blue color. This native perennial is in the mint family, but is not an aggressive spreader. The stems are tall and erect, with the plant reaching a height of 2-5 feet. Plant it in full sun. Nearly every day this month, I see bumble bees on the flowers of this plant. They love it and so will you.
Pitcher’s sage in the Cherry Creek Habitat.
Its HOT! Bees and other pollinators need fresh water to drink too. Add a bee water station in your yard for bees and other animals to get a drink. Bird baths work fine too. Place a rock in the water station for the insects to land on when they visit.
Bee water station in Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat.
Honey bee visiting a birdbath.
What a nice surprise to see this penstemon blooming in the pollinator habitat. Penstemon grandiflorus or large-flowered beardtongue is native to Nebraska. This plant prefers full sun to partial shade, dry conditions and can tolerate poor soil. At mature height it can reach 2 feet. It has amazing large, tubular pink to purple flowers that bloom for just a short time in May to June. Bumblebees are attracted to this penstemon. I planted seeds in October 2013 and we are now rewarded by its beautiful flowers.
Penstemon grandiflorus blooming in the habitat.
Prairie ragwort is a native plant that blooms May through June. This wildflower is a biennial or short-lived perennial that is approximately one foot tall. It attracts many pollinators like bees, flies, moths and butterflies.
Prairie ragwort blooming now in the Cherry Creek Habitat.