Five Years!

This is the 5th summer for the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat!  It is amazing to see how much we have accomplished in 5 years. We started with a neglected lawn area behind our office and turned it into a thriving habitat for pollinators and wildlife. The habitat is a great place to teach youth, adults, Master Gardeners and even our own staff about the importance of pollinators. Every time I visit the habitat I see or learn something new. It has been a rewarding experience and I hope it has been an inspiration for you as well.

MJ Frogge

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Accomplishments

Two educational signs

One solitary bee house

One insect hotel

Three water stations

Weather station

Live habitat web cam

Picnic table and bench

Bird feeding stations

Over 40 native plants with name labels

Over 190 stems of common milkweed for monarchs and other beneficial insects

Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification Program site

Hours of educational outreach for youth and adults

The Buzz at Cherry Creek blog

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

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

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

 

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

PenstemondigHRed

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

irisloganFont

Nebraskans Care About Pollinators

Nearly 70 people attended the Pollinator Class and Open House last night at the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat located at the Lancaster County Extension Office. Those attending included Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification members, Master Gardeners and citizens from several southeastern Nebraska communities who wanted to know more about pollinators and the Habitat Certification program.  After a habitat tour, delicious food and a power point program on the benefits of pollinators, the Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification Team held a Q&A session. Great discussion and concern expressed on how to help pollinators and increase habitat. A perfect evening!

MJ Frogge

It is Official! Certified Habitat

This week we received our Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification for the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat.  Our habitat earned a certificate and we also have an attractive sign to proudly display.

habitatsign

Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification sign for the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat.

So what does this mean to have a Habitat Certification?

We have made the commitment to protect pollinators by:

Providing a diversity of plant material essential to providing both nectar and pollen to support a healthy ecosystem. We use plants that provide pollen and nectar sources from early spring to late fall, provide a diversity of plants, flower shapes and flower sizes, choose older cultivars and  heirloom varieties of annuals and limit newer introductions, incorporate pollinator friendly native plants into the garden and place plants in masses (three or more) to attract pollinators.

Provide water, shelter and nesting areas for pollinators.

Practice conservation practices to protect and support pollinators by reducing lawn areas, maintain a layer of organic mulch over tree roots, shrubs and plant beds, plant groundcovers or use mulch on thinly vegetated areas to decrease erosion, avoid chemical pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides where possible, use a rain barrel or other means of capturing/utilizing rainwater to irrigate plants and water plants only when necessary.

If you are interested in certifying your garden or want to learn the requirements, please visit the Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification site to see the application.

http://go.unl.edu/pollinatorhabitat

MJ Frogge