I think we all know Monarch butterflies and milkweed go together. Do you know what other pollinators and plants are evolved together? Or which flower shapes, fragrances, colors and bloom times attract certain pollinators? The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recently sent a quiz that answers these questions. ‘Thought maybe you’d like to test your knowledge.
My brother Dan joined me for a walkabout at our hunting property over the weekend. It was the perfect time to be there. It was hot and humid. Not much in the way of a breeze. But, surprisingly there were no pesky flies or mosquitoes. Just a myriad of native plants and busy wildlife taking advantage of such a lush setting.
We had a great weekend! Here’s just a few of the highlights!! (Click on the photo and then again to enlarge.)
Here a Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) is being visited by a variety of nectaring insects. I was listening to NPR on the radio, so if you turn the volume up, you can hear a financial specialist speaking about the best way to save money for a child’s future education.
I had the pleasure of hearing Larry Weaner speak many years ago when I was still pretty much of a novice with natural landscaping and native plants, so I am pleased to learn he will be part of a podcast on Establishing and Maintaining Native Meadows in the Eastern USA on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 2:00PM ET (1:00PM CT). That’s tomorrow!
Larry is founder and principal of Larry Weaner Landscape Associates and he wrote the Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be A Source of Environmental Change with Thomas Christopher (Timber Press 2016). Ann Aldrich, as past Restoration Director worked with Larry to restore the meadows in Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy in Georgetown, Washington DC.
All three should bring interesting information and comments about converting existing non-native vegetation to a healthy, self-sustaining native landscaping.
Meadow or Prairie
Native habitats made up of grasses and wildflowers in the East are often referred to as meadows rather than prairies. Although both may contain many of the same grass and wildflower species, prairies are typically associated with the Midwest. A Canadian publication entitled Planting The Seed: A Guide to Establishing Prairie and Meadow Communities in Southern Ontario describes them as follows:
“What is a prairie? A prairie is an ecological community made up of native grasses and wildflowers. Mature trees (predominantly oaks) are a minor component on some sites, providing less than 10 percent canopy cover.Grasses such as big bluestem, Indian grass and prairie cord grass can grow higher than 2 metres, their tops swaying overhead as they move with the breeze. Tall sunflower, Virginia Culver’s-root and dense blazing star are examples of the more than 200 prairie wildflowers, or forbs, found interspersed among the grasses….
What is a meadow? A meadow is a warm, sunny spot, brimming with a variety of life. Wildflowers such as spotted Joe-pye-weed, boneset, blue vervain and swamp milkweed, as well as a number of wetland sedges and grasses, can be found in wetter areas. Black-eyed Susan, wild strawberry and gray goldenrod may occupy drier spots.
As most meadow wildflowers are nectar sources, they attract a variety of butterflies such as swallowtails, admirals, checkerspots and skippers. Meadows provide feeding and nesting areas for songbirds such as bobolinks and meadowlarks. They may also provide shelter for frogs and small mammals, which in turn attract hawks, owls and snakes.”
I ran across this Ted video this weekend and thought I’d share. Since it has had over two million viewers, you may have already seen it, but I know you’ll enjoy seeing it again. Enjoy!
Bees, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds evolved with flowers over 50 million years. Their relationship is a love story that feeds the earth. We depend upon pollinators for over a third of the fruit and vegetables we eat. According the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the value of the global crops directly relying on pollinators is estimated to be between $235 and $577 billion a year. According to Monarch Joint Venture, honeybee pollination adds more than $15 billion to the value of agricultural crops in the US each year, with another $9 billion coming from pollination by other species.
It is important to note, that we have evolved also, and as a link in the evolution of life, we are a part of nature and not apart from it.