What is Blooming in the Habitat-September

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

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.

MJ

What is Blooming in the Habitat

Hoary vervain (Verbena stricta) is one of my favorite native wildflowers.

Hoary vervain, a native wildflower.

Hoary vervain, a native wildflower.

It is blooming in the habitat now.  The plant has beautiful purple-blue flowers and blooms for at least 6 weeks.  It gets 2 feet tall and prefers drier soil conditions.  I always see bumblebees visiting the flowers, as well as butterflies and solitary bees.

MJ

Monarch Caterpillars

In the pollinator habitat today I notice a Monarch caterpillar feeding on a swamp milkweed flower. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs only on milkweed plants.  Swamp milkweed is blooming now and the pink flowers are very attractive. We also have butterfly, common and whorled milkweeds growing in the habitat. Consider adding milkweeds to your perennial flower beds.

Monarch caterpillar on swamp milkweed.

Monarch caterpillar on swamp milkweed.

The federal government in February, pledged $3.2 million to help save the monarch butterfly.  In recent years, the species has experienced a 90 percent decline in population, with the lowest recorded population occurring in 2013-2014.

About $2 million will restore more than 200,000 acres of habitat from California to the mid-west, including approximately 750 schoolyard habitats and pollinator gardens. The rest will be used to start a conservation fund, the first dedicated solely to monarchs, that will provide grants to farmers and other landowners to conserve habitat.

This is exciting news. These gardens will benefit all pollinators and help raise awareness of habitat protection.

MJ

What is 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.

MJ

Prairie ragwort blooming now in the Cherry Creek Habitat.

Prairie ragwort blooming now in the Cherry Creek Habitat.

New Year Resolution

Here is a new year resolution I plan to keep.  Plant more native plants. We have over 3o native plants growing in our habitat.  We hope to plant more this spring. Here is a list of a few that we have growing.  Hope it will inspire you to plant more natives this year.

Smooth aster in the habitat.

Smooth aster in the habitat.


Pasque flower Anemone patens
Butterfly milkweed Asclepias tuberosa
Common milkweed Asclepias syriaca
Whorled milkweed Asclepias verticillata
Swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata
Pitcher sage Salvia azurea
Purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea
Plains coreopsis Coreopsis tinctoria
Smooth aster Aster laevis
Spiked gayfeather Liatris spicata
Rough gayfeather Liatris aspera
Dotted gayfeather Liatris punctata
Thickspike gayfeather Liatris pycnostachya
Common yarrow Achillea millefolium
Hoary vervain Verbena stricta
Purple poppy mallow Callirhoe involucrata
Prairie aster Aster turbinellus

Happy New Year!

MJ

Nature’s birdfeeders

Rudbeckia flower heads provide food for birds in the winter.

Rudbeckia flower heads provide food for birds in the winter.

Leave seed heads standing in the landscape over the winter.  The dried seed heads of flowers like purple coneflower, Rudbeckia and sunflowers are nature’s birdfeeders. Junco and cardinals have been visiting the habitat and eating sunflower seeds. We have three squirrels that visit too.  If you have pumpkins left over from a fall display, put them outside for wildlife.  Squirrels and deer will be happy to feed on them.

MJ