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Old 07-18-2011, 09:43 PM   #1
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Default Landscape to Attract Pollinators

The Xerces Society Over the Garden Fence: Here’s buzz: Landscape to attract pollinators

"Birds have the Audubon Society. Butterflies are getting protection from gardeners installing Monarch Waystations. But up until now, few people have done much to help the third “B” of beneficial wildlife — bees and other pollinating insects.

Actually, we’ve done a pretty good job at killing off pollinators by rampant spraying, reducing plant diversity to lawn and a few common shrubs, and teaching kids to dread anything that buzzes.

That’s starting to change as bee populations nose-dive enough to threaten the pollination of everything from farm crops to orchards to backyard tomatoes."
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:26 PM   #2
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The Penn State Pollinators Friendly Garden Certification. I had not seen this article.
I don't have any signs up, do you think they do out of state?
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:48 PM   #3
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The Penn State Pollinators Friendly Garden Certification. I had not seen this article.
I don't have any signs up, do you think they do out of state?
There's a phone number listed at the end of the essay. I'm sure they'd have your answer. I think Dap would be interested in this also. He lives in Penn.

I do have a sign up on a snag in my side yard that can be seen from the street. It's the NWF Certified Habitat sign. I put it up so anyone interested in the appearance of the landscaping on the property would quickly know, if they cared to, what I was focusing on.

I found it interesting that at the UPENN site the wildflower they pictured was the Indian Blanket, which I don't think is endemic to Penn. I could be wrong.

I have ten of the plants and they probably, along with the milkweed, get the most attention from pollinators in my yard. That, in spite of the fact that technically they are not native to Massachusetts. Nevertheless, they are always covered with native bees. Indeed, I think a study of the native bees I have on my property could be accomplished simply by documenting what is coming and going from them.

I wasn't surprised to see the site use that flower on its pollinator page.
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Old 07-19-2011, 11:48 AM   #4
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Jack, I grew blanket flower for awhile. It starts easy from seed and is very drought tolerant. It is native more to short grass prairie but has been found growing here in Illinois. You are so right about the native bees loving this plant. The pollen and nectar source must be very abundant.
Gaillardia has died out but enough of the other forbs are now blooming to supply the pollinators so I have just let it go. I'm trying to let the land and climate choose what stays.
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:42 PM   #5
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Great article...hope it raises a lot of public awareness.

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Originally Posted by jack View Post
There's a phone number listed at the end of the essay. I'm sure they'd have your answer. I think Dap would be interested in this also. He lives in Penn.
I might be...I thought about getting certified as a habitat, too, but I'm not sure that I want the signs. (I know...picky.) It is something to think about though.


One thing I think the article got wrong:
Quote:
Even our meat and milk trace back to insects that pollinate the corn and other feed for beef cattle and cows..
I always thought corn was wind-pollinated, but I do agree that ultimately even cattle and chickens depend on pollinators to some extent.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:35 PM   #6
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Somewhere around here I have a library copy of 'Attracting Native Pollinators' by the Xerces Society and I have to say that I was surprised at the number of non-native plants referenced.

I also wish that they had offered just a little more in terms of field-marks and identification information for the native pollinators.

But maybe I'm being a bit harsh--I'll find it and have another look. . .
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Somewhere around here I have a library copy of 'Attracting Native Pollinators' by the Xerces Society and I have to say that I was surprised at the number of non-native plants referenced.

I also wish that they had offered just a little more in terms of field-marks and identification information for the native pollinators.

But maybe I'm being a bit harsh--I'll find it and have another look. . .
The new list is quite native conscious. When they do advocate alien species, it usually an herb. I joined the organization last evening and read an article on the benefit of planting Veronica spicata for bumblebees. Today I can't find it. At any rate, it stated that it helps queens to build worker numbers, and it draws a great variety of different kinds of bumblebees, markedly more than most any other flower species.

Well, at any rate, the official list is quite conservative.

Here's the latest list:

http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/upl...ees-xerces.pdf
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:02 AM   #8
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Some of us plant stealth pollinator gardens and just call them "Butterfly Gardens".

When my GS troop went to talk to the Town of Chapel Hill about planting our garden, we were told we couldn't call it a pollinator garden, or talk about attracting bees as a thing we were trying to do, because if we did the next person that got stung would point to it as willful harm on the part of the town and sue. Whereas if we call it a butterfly garden, and it happens to attract bees, we can just say, "oh well, we didn't do it deliberately". What a ridiculous society we live in.
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:30 PM   #9
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Some of us plant stealth pollinator gardens and just call them "Butterfly Gardens".

When my GS troop went to talk to the Town of Chapel Hill about planting our garden, we were told we couldn't call it a pollinator garden, or talk about attracting bees as a thing we were trying to do, because if we did the next person that got stung would point to it as willful harm on the part of the town and sue. Whereas if we call it a butterfly garden, and it happens to attract bees, we can just say, "oh well, we didn't do it deliberately". What a ridiculous society we live in.

Very true! I notice on wildflower sites a plant is often said to attract butterflies or birds/hummingbirds. Almost never does a site say "It attracts bees."

Another point - too many people call yellow jackets, bees. It's a mistake tantamount to slander, as it turns folks away from the idea that bees can be good to have around.

At the high school where I teach, almost everyone says bee when they mean yellow jacket wasp. When I correct them, I get a dirty look.
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:04 PM   #10
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Come on jack, you know never to correct a teenager!
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