Seeding of a pollinator habitat

Slovak

Our Lady of the Woods

Ground cedar

Ground cedar

Ryan Conner, Happy Tonics Volunteer in Hayward, WI has a native habitat in his front yard. A few years ago, he decided to stop mowing. Bravo!

A visit to tranquility

A visit to tranquility

This past winter Ryan sent me some seed that he gathered from his own property. I am implementing a Wild Butterfly Habitat, on Ashby West Road, Fitchburg, MA. It is on family land and private.

RYAN’S NATIVE SEED:

Asclepias syriaca common milkweed

Desmodium canadense Showy tick-trefoil

Echinacea pallida Pale purple coneflower

Ratibida pinnata Gray-headed coneflower

Rudbeckia laciniata Green-headed coneflower

Solidago speciosa Showy goldenrod

I also bought seed packages for the following plants that were also scattered.

PACKAGED SEED:

Nepeta cataria Catmint

Aguilegia canadensis Columbine

Artemisia caudatus Love lies bleeding

Artemisia tricolor Joseph’s coat

Monarca media Monarda

Ecinacea purpurea Purple conflower

Helanthus spp. Sunflower

 

Ryan Conner proudly stands next to his Conservation Star Home Award sign

Ryan Conner proudly stands next to his Conservation Star Home Award sign.

I won’t look for instantaneous results. I have found that native seed sprouts when conditions are compatible to its growing needs. Sometimes seed can lay dormant for years before it emerges. We will see as time develops what takes.

In the meantime, I have put up a driftwood recycled birdhouse. This week another fanciful bird house for my sister’s grandchildren, a small shrine for for La Senora de Guadalupe and a wildflower wood-chime will be placed at the habitat.

Beauty is etheral

Beauty is ethereal

My sister Ronnie already thoughtfully brought a chair up to the habitat for me. It is set in the cool of the pine grove. She also planted ground cover succulents in an old wooden log that had the center eaten out by some critter. Each touch we add will offer refuge to me. There is a reason for this. My life is centered on living a purpose driven life. It is busy with speaking tours, leading restoration gardens, implementing pollinator habitats, teaching environmental classes and writing my third book. I simply need a place of refuge where I can unwind and listen to the wind. Here I do ceremony for water and communicate with the Creator’s natural world, which renews me. I love it so.

 

 

Conservation and Asters

Ryan Conner proudly stands next to his Conservation Star Home Award sign

Ryan Conner proudly stands next to his Conservation Star Home Award sign.

This past week I had an opportunity to visit Ryan Conner in Hayward. He invited me to see the native habitat he was implementing on his land.  He owns a home and property on Grindstone Lake. Ryan received a Conservation Star Home Award for turning a sandy lawn of mowed grass into a native habitat on the lake. Frankly this is how I found his
house. Ryan had told me he had a rather large colony of asters growing. The asters led me right to his door.

While I was there I saw several species of small native bees. I also learned about species of asters which are not easy to identify. Reason why? There are over 200 species of aster in the United States.

 

Calico aster with pink centers.

Calico aster with pink centers.

Ryan pointed out that calico aster has pink disk florets. The species also has a plumed flower formation. Now I know the name of white heath aster and sky blue aster which were growing in a rather large colony.

The Monarch Butterfly Habitat has upland white aster. There are several other species of asters at the habitat and hopefully I will be better able to identify the different species more easily now. Ryan is a dedicated volunteer at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. He has assisted the nonprofit for nearly four years now during the summer season. He has added many native species to the Shell Lake habitat, which in time will provide more color and interest beyond the summer months. It is interesting to note that one of Ryan’s neighbors has also begun to turn his land into a native habitat for pollinators.

Without native habitat for pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies, dragonflies, bats and moths there most likely would not be the plant and insect biodiversity that exists today. According to Douglas W. Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, “Up to 90 percent of all phytophagous insects are considered specialists because they have evolved in concert with no more
than a few plant lineages” (Bernays & Graham 1988). Native insects have not evolved with alien plants and most likely are unable to eat them. For homeowners who want bees to pollinate fruit trees and gardeners who want to have flowers and vegetables pollinated, it is important to plant native plant species that will invite pollinators to the back yard.

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