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

Justice For All

Life Liberty and Happiness

Fourth of July Flowers

These words from the Declaration of Independence which declared our independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. Today is the USA’s 241st birthday.

It appears to me that more people than usual are thinking about what it means to be an American on this 4th of July holiday.  We grieve a lack of leadership, but  it is the people who have always made the U.S. great and we must have hope for the future!

What can you do?

On This 4th of July celebrate what is great about our country: Celebrate our beautiful landscapes and parks, celebrate our diversity and our right to speak out. Celebrate that we have a free press working hard to get us the real news, and find the truth.

Democracy is hard work and it is messy. As Americans I hope we will continue to speak out honestly, strive for truth, work for justice, and act peacefully. Continue to March, call your elected officials on issues (local, state and national), write letters to newspapers and officials, Carry signs, wear bold t-shirts, ask questions, follow the rules(we are a nation of laws), and pursue the common good for all! It is our children’s destiny. Wishing you happiness and justice on this 4th!

See Neil Young’s video below:

https://www.ecowatch.com/neil-young-children-of-destiny-2452520963.html

A Special Hundred Years, Celebrate!

A wise pelican near the Everglades
A wise pelican, the Everglades
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
In the Everglades
In the Everglades

Happy 100th Birthday to Our National Parks!  Many of us have vivid memories of visits to our national parks.  Our parks are for the common good of all, and are an important function of government. National parks represent The United States in history, culture, diversity, beauty and lots of fun! As citizens we need to make sure they are funded and cared for.  Always be leery of politicians who are going to cut your taxes. That money is often from programs that are for the good of everyone, like parks. Only Congress can create national parks.  Tell your congressman how important they are and to please fund them.

I love this article by Jillian Mackenzie “Europe has cathedrals. We have national parks,” said Stephen Saunders, neatly capturing the significance of these 59 national treasures, which include important monuments as well as parklands. But as we honor their majesty we must also recognize and address the biggest threats to our natural versions of Notre Dame.  Read the entire article.

So what are you waiting for?  Grab your walking shoes, a reusable water bottle, sun screen and visit a park near you. Happy Birthday, National Parks!

http://time.com/3907099/yellowstone-first-national-park/

A Win-win for Pollinators and People

How can you help our pollinators? Our pollinators are struggling to survive.  There are things we can do in our yards to help pollinators. The mono-culture of perfect green turf grass lawns does nothing to help our struggling pollinators.

Blue Salvia are loved by bees.
Blue Salvia are loved by bees. (not native)

I have been on a road trip from Minnesota, through Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska,  and South Dakota, and have been amazed at the manicured thick turf grass that dominates in parks and lawns.  Turf grass has no value for pollinators, and when fertilized adds unhealthy chemicals harmful to pollinators, humans, pets, wildlife and our water bodies.  Adding a diversity of fresh new plants and removing some lawn can make a big difference for our pollinators.

Walking a trail in Lincoln, Nebraska I was thrilled at their efforts to help our pollinators. They are allowing clover and native plants to grow. I even saw a few milkweed popping up.

Just a few changes can make a big difference for pollinators.(bees, butterflies, and birds)
Just a few changes can make a big difference for pollinators.(bees, butterflies, and birds)

Spring is a fabulous time to add new plants to your yard. A wide diversity of plants helps

Foam flower is an early blooming plant
Foam flower is an early blooming plant

our pollinators. Native plants don’t need chemicals so they are the healthiest for you, children, pets, and the pollinators.  More garden diversity, and less chemicals creates a win-win for our earth and us all!

Here is a good article on creating more diversity for pollinators.

Pussy toes add texture and interest
An early blooming plant, pussy-toes add texture and interest, and is a host plant to the painted lady butterfly

image

Allowing the violets, Virginia waterleaf and dandelions(until they go to seed), and clover can create easy gardening and great pollinator habitat.

 

http://www.startribune.com/flower-power-season-long-blooms-are-a-win-win-for-people-and-pollinators/378411041/

https://health4earth.com/add-fun-pollinators-to-your-yard/

Always consider how to add more milkweed. Swamp milkweed has been the most successful for me.
Always consider how to add more milkweed. Swamp milkweed has been the most successful for me.
Wild geranium, easy to grow, is loved by bees and butterflies.
Wild geranium, easy to grow, is loved by bees and butterflies and is early blooming