It’s May!

The Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat has received much needed rain. It is raining right now! Plants have grown well and the habitat has greened up. Common milkweed, Joe-Pye weed, hoary vervain, bee balm, tall thistle, common yarrow, aster, penstemon, purple coneflower, goldenrod and cup plant are found in the in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Master Gardener volunteers helped cut back dead plants, weed trees and spread mulch earlier this month. I added new blocks to the solitary bee house. We should be seeing leaf cutter bees soon. Spring is here.

MJ Frogge

Blocks with drilled holes and paper straws for solitary bees.
Common milkweed.
Joe-Pye weed.

Spring Blooming Plants

Many great pollinator plants are blooming now.  It can be hard to find a good collection of spring blooming plants to add to your pollinator habitat. Here are a few to try.

Trees: Eastern redbud, cherry, apple, crab apple, wild plum, pear, willow, maple and Shadblow serviceberry.

Perennials: pasque flower, Dutchman’s breeches, white trout lily, Virginia bluebells and spring beauty.

Spring blooming flower bulbs: snowdrops, Siberian squill, grape hyacinth, crocus, striped squill and glory-of-the-snow.

MJ Frogge

Start Seeds Indoors During March

Mid-March is the perfect time to start seeds for plants to place in your pollinator habitat. Growing your own transplants is a great way to add annuals, perennials and herbs to your landscape for pollinators. Consider starting herbs like basil, parsley and borage. Annual salvia, tithonia, sweet alyssum, cosmos, zinnia and calendula are great annual flowers for bees and butterflies. Perennials like Black-eyed Susan, milkweed and mint can be started inside as well.

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.

For more seed starting tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhLhtIHWvc4

Ready for Spring!

MJ Frogge

Start annual flowers, herbs and perennials under lights in March.
Torch Tithonia seedlings. Great annual flower for butterflies.

Spring Blooming Trees

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-Cercis canadensis, 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.

MJ Frogge

Eastern Redbud
Wild Plum
Peachleaf Willow

What is Blooming in April?

This week we celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day. We are having fantastic weather, so hope you are able to get outside and plant.

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.

MJ Frogge

Spring & New Normal

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.

Get outside!

MJ Frogge

Start Seeds Indoors Under Lights

startseedsToday 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.

For more seed starting tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhLhtIHWvc4

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.

MJ Frogge

Spring Flowers

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.

MJ Frogge

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Spring Is Here!

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

MJ Frogge

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