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

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Nature’s Fireworks

Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, has an amazing flower. To me it looks like a bursting firework display.  This native shrub is blooming in my home habitat now.  It can grow in part shade and prefers moist soil. Perfect plant for a rain garden. Bees love this pollinator plant.

MJ Frogge

ButtonbushBumblebee on Buttonbush flower.

Pollinator Education and Homes

Yesterday Soni, Jody and I taught a pollinator session for Habitat Discovery.  This was part of a week long day camp experience for youth at the Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln. We wanted the kids to build an insect hotel on location that would benefit pollinators and be a lasting addition to the Outdoor Education Center. This was an ambitious task, since it took Soni and I about three months to gather supplies to build the insect hotel located at the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. I asked Lancaster County Master Gardeners to collect twigs, pinecones and egg cartons for the project. The kids had a great time building the insect hotel and it was quite impressive after our two hour program.  The youth learned what solitary bees were and where they like to nest. They also got to make solitary bee homes out of recycled materials to take home and place in their landscapes. When the insect hotel was finished there was a solitary bee ready to check in!

MJ Frogge

Solitary Bee House make from recycled materials.Making Insect HotelInsect Hotel

City Mission Gardens

Every Tuesday Lancaster County Master Gardeners assist Dave from our office at the City Mission Garden. Dave started the garden a few years ago as education outreach for Mission residents who wanted to learn to garden. Residents come and go, but Dave and the master gardeners are there consistently through the spring, summer and fall. Vegetables are collected each week and used in the City Mission kitchen. Today they had broccoli, onions and herbs. Master Gardener Jane planted wildflowers and now there is a beautiful pollinator garden too. She hopes to have a good selection of plants that bloom during each season to apply for the Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification Program.

MJ Frogge

Mission Vegetable garden and Master GardenersMission Pollinator Garden with Jane

Bee Fun Day

We wrapped up National Pollinator Week by attending Bee Fun Day at NEREC August N. Christenson Research & Education Building near Ithaca Nebraska yesterday. This event was sponsored by the Nebraska Beekeepers Association and Nebraska Extension. Soni, Jody and I had a youth activity booth for kids to make paper flowers and pipe cleaner caterpillars. We talked about what native plants are important to our native pollinators and what caterpillars need to eat to eventually turn into butterflies. We also took some time with our fellow Extension staff to scout for pollinators around the NEREC grounds.

MJ Frogge

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.

National Pollinator Week

It is National Pollinator Week! I am happy to share that the Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification program has revised its application with an updated and bigger plant list! Hope you will consider applying to this program. Take a look at the application for the list of plants you might add to your landscape to benefit pollinators.

http://entomology.unl.edu/pollinator-habitat-certification

MJ Frogge

signbetter

 

Annual Flowers

Annual flowers are an important addition to a pollinator habitat. They bloom all summer and into the fall. They fill the void if your habitat is new and the perennial flowers are not blooming yet. Sulphur cosmos,  larkspur, blue salvia, gomphrena, sweet alyssum, zinnia and sunflower are just a few annual flowers to add to your landscape to help pollinators.

MJ Frogge

Leafcutter Bees

This week we have noticed alot of activity around the bee house in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat.  Evidence of leafcutter bees present show discs of leaves that are snipped from nearby ash tree seedlings. Drilled holes are now filled in the bee house. Learn more about leafcutter bees from this publication by Dr. Jonathan L. Larson at Nebraska Extension at Douglas/Sarpy Counties.

MJ Frogge

http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/Getting%20to%20Know%20Leafcutter%20Bees.pdf