This spring we started the Hays Public Library Pollinator Plant Project. We hope to attract butterflies, bees, and ladybugs. I began by consulting knowledgeable people including Andree Brisson (sustainability expert at Fort Hays State University), Carly McCracken (certified in sustainability), Keri Claudle (Fort Hays State University sustainability graduate student), Holly Dickman (horticultural expert with Kansas State University Research and Extension), and Margie Muller (Master Gardener).
There are some types of milkweed that can be controversial, and even the butterfly bush can ruffle some feathers. Annual tropical milkweed is controversial for a few different reasons, but since we had some donated, we planted it. This site goes into some detail about reasons for concern, and what to do.
Every spring, members of the Prairie Garden Club dig up plants from their yards and give them away. Some generous souls also start annuals from seed. There is a donation jar available, if you wish to donate. The best thing about the plants you get at the giveaway is their hardiness, they will thrive in this specific region. I got many different plants at the giveaway. Not all of them will provide food for the critters, but they will help create shelter for the pollinators and smaller plants.
Here is a list of some of the plants I got at the giveaway (common names): large sedum, small sedum, lamb’s ear, dill, ice plant, monkey grass, day lily, bee balm, golden rod, sweet pea, and orange cosmos. I also purchased: butterfly bush, portulaca, fennel, rosemary, lantana, blue-stem grass, and petunias.
The second stage of the project will take place at 10am on Wednesday, May 25th at the Hays Public Library. Children and teens are welcome get involved in the project. We will have verbena for them to plant along the border of the garden. They will also receive a short educational talk about pollinators and a pollinator storytime.
You can register here.