Searching For More Diversity

This is a week to appreciate and celebrate our pollinators. In my yard there are many baby monarch caterpillars eating on milkweed, and eggs of the painted lady butterfly on pearly everlasting and pussy toes. A dragon fly has been following me around as I work, and the hummingbirds stop to check things out.  It is a beautiful exciting time!  Get outside and enjoy.

Monarch Caterpillars

Our insects and pollinators have been in serious decline the past few years. This is a week is to heighten our awareness of pollinators. Make an effort to spot some butterflies, bees, dragon flies, or maybe a hummingbird.

Create a yard pollinators want to visit.

Unfortunately, we have become a mono-culture world of asphalt, concrete, turf grass and hostas. Maybe you live in corn and soy bean country, more mono-cultures. Most of us can make changes to our environment to help pollinators. Maybe just place a pot of flowers on your deck, something that bees and butterflies like, or maybe replace a hosta with a wild geranium or native violets, maybe stop using chemicals on your lawn and turn it into a clover yard, or plant some bee balm, milkweed, coneflowers or sunflowers.

A new extensive UN study says we are on track to loose over a million spieces in the next few decades.  Pesticides are a problem for bees and insects, but the study says the lack of plant diversity is also a big problem. Our farmers plant too much corn and soybeans, and yards have too much turf grass and too many hostas!

Each one of us can make a difference, think diversity in your yard! How can you brighten your yard and make it more attractive to pollinators?

Find ideas from the Xerces Society or native plants from Audubon for your area here.

The urban and rural gardener all have an important part to play in the health of our pollinators. Diversity is important. Keep it simple to start,  native plants are  easy to grow, but don’t forget native trees, especially oaks, are excellent at adding diversity. Last, but most important, purchase plants from serious nurseries, and ask to make sure plants haven’t been treated with neonicotinoids.

“Nature needs to be appreciated for itself and viewed as natures health dictates our human health. Without healthy water, land and soil and wildlife we will not survive as human beings. We must set aside of land, and water bodies and protect them from development. We must be aggressive protecting our land water and wildlife.” Ecowatch,  read more here.

Neonicotinoids and Bees

Plant For Clean Water

I am at the Minnesota State Fair talking to individuals about rain gardens and native deep-rooted plants. Native plants help absorb pollutants, keep rain water in our yards, save on watering, and are loved by bees, butterflies and birds.

Plant deep-rooted plants for pollinators and clean water.

prairie-grasses
Deep rooted plants absorb run-off

Minnesota Takes the Lead for Bees and Butterflies

Hope for pollinators
Hope for pollinators

“Today, Minnesota set the strongest rules in the nation to protect pollinators from pesticides,” said Lex Horan of Pesticide Action Network. “The plan will help ensure that bee-harming pesticides won’t be used unnecessarily, and it lays the groundwork for reducing the use of neonicotinoid seed coatings. This decision is rooted in the resounding scientific evidence that neonicotinoids are harmful to pollinators. It’s past time for state and federal decisionmakers to take action to restrict the use of bee-harming pesticides, and today Minnesota did just that.”  Read the whole story here.  Another story from Minnesota Public Radio.

An American painted lady
An American painted lady

My Pollinator Friendly Yard

No chemicals needed!
No chemicals needed!
Plant for the monarch butterfly
Plant for the monarch butterfly

Today my yard is teaming with pollinators.  The bees are in abundance, house finch and hummingbirds are loving the fresh blooming plants, and I am thrilled.  Butterflies have been slow to appear, but today I had a giant swallowtail, several red admirals, a painted lady, and a monarch!

The Giant Swallowtail Butterfly. Photo credit: Brian GratwickeThe Giant Swallowtail Butterfly. Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke

An American lady
An American lady
swamp milkweed ready for monarch butterflies
Swamp milkweed ready for monarch butterflies

 

Bee balm, cone flowers, and milkweed will bring butterflies, bees and butterflies.

Try this link to research and look up butterflies

 

 

I am Thankful for California!

Round up kills the plants bees and butterflies love!
Round up kills the plants bees and butterflies love!

A Big Reason to be Thankful for California!

I was shopping for a vegetable peeler the other day.  The label said, “This product is known to cause cancer according to the California EPA. Be sure you wash your hands after use” Yikes, who would buy such a product?  Why would a company manufacture such a product?  Below is more watchdog work by California’s EPA:

Big news! California EPA Moves to Label Monsanto’s Roundup ‘Carcinogenic’ http://ow.ly/RQOdP #BanRoundup

In a first for the country, California’s Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) has issued plans to list glyphosate—the toxic active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—as known to cause cancer.  http://ecowatch.com/2015/09/08/california-becomes-first-state-to-label-monsantos-roundup-as-a-carcinogen/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=4a984bb080-Top_News_9_9_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-4a984bb080-85912169

 

Superior Views, August 2015

Life on Lake Superior

Hummingbirds and bees love this garden on Lake Superior(background lake)
Hummingbirds and bees love this garden on Lake Superior

Bee balm, hyssop, golden rod, wide leaf aster, cardinal-flower and purple cone flower bring joy!

Bees love golden rod and it is everywhere.
Bees love golden rod and it is everywhere.
The sun sets on August
The sun sets on August

Eagles screech and talk to me as I work in my yard. Hummingbirds are everywhere, and some of the migrating birds crossing the lake are the Nashville Warbler, thrushes, and white throated sparrow.

Why are bees dying at an alarming rate?

Add plants bees love to your yard!
Add plants bees and butterflies love to your yard!

Bees have been a worry to me all summer.  They haven’t been feeding on the plants that are usually loaded with bees. Wild geranium,  Culver’s Root, chives and a flowering maple they usually are passionate about have been lacking bees.

Bees love bee balm and anise hysopp, but this year not so many bees.
Bees love bee balm and  hyssop, but this year not so many bees.

In August with the blooming hyssop, cone flowers and golden rod the bees are here, but not in the typical numbers for this time of year.

We must do better to make sure our yards have flowers pollinators love and avoid all chemicals.  It frightens me that some of the plants we purchase are still laden with heavy chemicals and neonicotinoids. I wonder how all these chemicals are going to affect human health? How is neonicotinoid farm run-off going to affect aquatic life?

A study below by the US Geological Survey finds neonicotinoids in our water ways. Here is the link: http://m.ktvz.com/news/Insecticide-found-in-half-of-sampled-U-S-streams/34779418

MINNEAPOLIS TAKES ACTION TO PROTECT POLLINATORS AS A POLLINATOR-FRIENDLY CITY

The City of Minneapolis urges all Minneapolis property owners, residents, businesses, institutions and neighborhoods to become more pollinator friendly by adopting practices including:

  • Committing to not use pesticides, including insecticides that stay in the plant, on their properties.
  • Avoiding planting flowering plants that are treated with insecticides that stay in the plant.
  • Discontinuing the sale of pesticides and plants that are treated with insecticides that stay in the plant.
  • Planting more pollinator forage on their property and using organic or chemical-free lawn and landscaping practices.

Here is the link: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/news/WCMS1P-147750   Unfortunately, Minnesota has ridiculous preemption laws, and a city can’t make rules stronger than existing state legislation

Morning Earth Healing Images 8.28.2015

Golden rod picture by John Cady
Golden Rod picture by John Cady