Wednesday, June 20, 2012

National Pollinator Week 2012

I just found out that June 18-24 is National Pollinator Week. Pollinator Week was initiated by the Pollinator Partnership. According to their website, five years ago, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved and designated the last week in June as National Pollinator Week. Since then, it has grown into an international celebration of the important services that pollinators perform in the environment.

Most everyone recognizes that bees are pollinators. Not everyone realizes that butterflies, birds, wasps, flies, beetles and even bats are also pollinators too. Really, any critter that transfers pollen is a pollinator.

Back in the days when I had a lawn and fewer native plants, I was a pollinator out of necessity. I did not have many bees that came to my garden and my squash flowers were not getting pollinated. Since
 I wanted squash, I had to go out every morning and transfer the pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers. I felt silly in that bee costume.

I finally wised up and planted more native flowering plants and now I don't have to do the pollination myself any longer. I have many different types of bees eager to do the job for me.


The bees usually move around too quickly for me to photograph. I got lucky with this native bee collecting pollen on the flowers of Clammyweed, Polanisia dodecandra, a couple of days ago. It was interesting watching it hover above the flowers and collect pollen from the stamens that extend above the flowers.

The Pollinator Partnership website is full of interesting and useful information about pollinators that I am still exploring. They even have pollinator plant guides that you can download for your specific ecoregion in the U.S. I was happy to see that my garden includes many of the plants recommended for my region, which happens to be called Prairie Parkland (subtropical) Province.

In 2010, I had a post called Bees on the Prairie. I posted several photos of bees and wasps in my garden and a list of some of the favorite bee plants in my garden. A companion post, Butterflies on the Prairie, has several butterfly photos. And if you do not want butterflies to invade your garden, my post, Prairie Invasion, includes a list of plants to avoid. If you want butterflies in your garden, then it would be a good list of plants that you would want to include in your garden.


In closing, I came across this video this week. It is a musical remix of the wisdom of Mr. Rogers from PBS. I know I watched the show as a kid and I suspect he contributed, in some part, to my curious nature. I pretty sure he is the reason I had fish aquariums for many years. Now, the ideas that grow in the garden of my mind also grow in my prairie gardens. 

14 comments:

  1. I have to say, there are few things as truly satisfying as sitting (or strolling) in the garden, surrounded by the humming of busy pollinators...it's so gratifying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Scott. The bees, butterflies, and other pollinators bring the garden to life.

      Delete
  2. The Refuges up this way - Northwest Region are having a pollinator contest. Each refuge gets points for presentations, activities, interviews on radio/TV, and planting a demonstration pollinator garden and for a host of other stuff related to getting the word out that pollinators, especially the bees are in serious trouble. But different refuges are showcasing bats and hummingbirds, as well as bees and butterflies. Most of the work I'll be doing this summer will be on things that will gain up pollinator points. I'm making up activities about pollinators to take to the Paiute Indian Summer Kids Program. I'll have 6- 1 hour sessions with them. And thanks for mentioning those great pollinator plant guides. I saved the one for our region on the common drive so all the staff could find it. I'm also developing a plant list from finding flowering plants, taking their pictures, then finding out their names and if the seeds or plants are commercially available. And my bee survey also counts towards our points. I'm actually doing 7 surveys on different parts of this huge refuge. (Malheur NWR in Oregon.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is great work you are doing Marilyn. Did you notice the educational material on the Pollinator Partnership website? It is under the Useful Resources menu. Good luck with the contest.

      Delete
  3. I've been donning my pollinator wings and dancing around with my paintbrush every morning this week, so your post really hits home. Don't forget moths as pollinators.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right about the moths. My favorites are the hawk moths and clear wing moths. Good luck with your pollination.

      Delete
  4. It's wonderful when everything is in balance, so much easier on the gardener too. The butterflies are here and a few bees on occasion.

    The garden of my mind seems more of a reality than my actual garden at this point. It's getting closer at three years though and seeing more results helps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shirley, you should get a beebrush if you need bees. The swarm the plant when it is in bloom. I think the garden in my mind is too fertile. My back is not strong enough and there are not enough hours in the day to bring all of my ideas to life.

      Delete
  5. Thank you so much for your blog. Heart problems and four months of subsequent rehab kept me out of my native plant shade garden for over four months. I"m just now beginning to be able to get back into gardening--- and your yard is such an inspiration. I've spent the past 45 minutes looking through your archives to catch up on all I've missed. What a delight !! P.S. For a minute you almost had me fooled by your April 1 post. Thank goodness it wasn't true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anonymous. Glad you are recovering and able to get back in your garden. It is great therapy.

      No, I am not giving up on the prairie any time soon. I keep thinking about giving up the blog, but comments like yours help me go on. Thanks.

      Delete
  6. Rock on!, Mr. Rogers :-) Garden hip hop. Who knew?! Ha :-) He kind of has a crazed look in his eye every time he says "In the garden of your mind." I guess we gardeners probably have that crazed look in our eyes when we see a plant we've been wanting for a long time or we dream about the next patch of lawn we are going to rip out or when we see pollinators doing their thing in our gardens :-) Happy Pollinator Week!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Where do you get your plants or seeds from?

    I've been getting my seed from Native American Seed and some of my plants from Stuart's Nursery in Weatherford.

    ReplyDelete
  8. James, I try to get all of my plants locally. The best sources are the native plant sales hosted by chapters of the Native Plant Society of Texas. Search for my April 10, 2012 post for some examples. There should be a NPSOT chapter near you. DFW area nurseries such as Rohdes, Shades of Green, North Haven, and Weston's are good sources. I also collect seeds and, sometimes, plants from fields. Be sure not to collect seeds or plants of rare or endangered plants. I tried seeds from NAS once and was disappointed with the results. I am sure I had something to do with it, but out of five packets, I only had a few sprout from one packet.

    ReplyDelete

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. Any comments that look like spam or link to a commercial venture will be deleted.

All content © Michael McDowell for Plano Prairie Garden 2009-2016. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.