Pollinator Project

Sedum_spectabile_3

This spring we started the Hays Public Library Pollinator Plant Project.  It is especially important to learn about threatened pollinators like the monarch butterfly, so that we can help them rebuild their numbers. We hope to attract butterflies, bees, and ladybugs while making a beautiful and educational garden.

Research is an important step in the process of creating any garden. I began by consulting horticultural and sustainability experts 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). They provided advice, inspiration, and seeds for the garden.

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. If you want to keep your butterfly garden full of native plants (and you live in Kansas), this is a great resource.

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, verbena, and petunias.

The second stage of the project took place on a misty Wednesday morning at the library.  Children and teens got involved by planting verbena along the border of the garden. They also received an educational pollinator talk by Carly McCracken and Holly Dickman and a had outdoor storytime with Cathleen Kroeger.

Thanks to everyone involved, and especially to Carly who initially had the inspiration for the project!

 

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One thought on “Pollinator Project

  1. Pingback: Butterfly Garden: Caterpillar | Young Adult Activities

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