“Bee”-ing: Functional Horticulture
by MaryAnn Fink Pollinator Junction LIFE Exhibit/Curator Nature is the best design collaborator! Unlike me, She is able to work tirelessly! According to a most inspiring and renown sustainable architect Sim Van der Ryn, "since the "Back to Nature" movement of the 60's there has been a challenge to design "smart" rather than accept the romantic notion of living off the land." I believe we have do both live smart and give back to the land so that we can support LIFE. Isn't that really romantic? What does that mean for "sustainable" landscape design when we are clearly entering into a crisis of supporting an ever expanding human population with a dwindling pollinator population? This push to help pollinators may "bee" the moment in history when sustainable gardening truly take off and mainstreamers begin to understand what we as environmental horticulturists embrace, the future is "functional horticulture"! I always want to be a promoter of an environment that
First Aid (ade) For Monarchs
By MaryAnn Fink Pollinator Junction Pollinary Park LIFE EXHIBIT Curator Tropical Milkweed seems to be a sweet answer for Missouri's Milkweed for Monarch Emergency. It is planted at Pollinator Junction primarily in the annual area in "easy to view." We will "bee" seeing lots of pollinators including Mommy Monarchs and butterfly babies/caterpillars munching along! Though somewhat of a controversial plant because of its non-nativity, Tropical Milkweed / Asclepia curassavica is and has been shown to be a Monarch food AND beverage choice and in some cases, even a preferred choice when Monarchs butterflies were given a choice between it and all other milkweeds! Are Monarchs as savvy as bees in knowing if a plant is offering quality food? That is a worthy discussion for another time. Meanwhile let's just look at this food offering with a "first aid (ade)" approach. We need a resource that is producible in large quantities for the full duration of our growing season in Missouri if we
By MaryAnn Fink LIFE Exhibit/Curator Pollinator Junction Another featured plant collection in the annual areas at the Museum of Transportation's Pollinator Junction, is Salvia. Annual salvias are some of the showiest, most deer resistant plants and are most importantly strongly favored by pollinators including hummingbirds, some butterflies and several busy bees! Salvias have many Missouri native representatives. These other family members are featured in other parts of the park but for the ever-blooming deer resistant annuals, I have choosen Blue Anise Sage, Salvia gauranitica Black and Blue, Mealycup Savia 'Victoria' which is a selection of our American native, Salvia farenacea and Scarlet Sage, Salvia coccinea. These sages are so beautiful that if I had to choose only two plant families to "bee" the foundation for the Pollinator Junction LIFE Exhibit's inventory-I think I would of course choose milkweed family (Asclepia) and salvia's family, Lamiaceae!
BEE HAPPY and Butterfly Kisses
By MaryAnn Fink / LIFE Exhibit Curator The mind's eye trickery I deal with is confusing to me even still in my silver years. What I see at the pollinary park at the Museum of Transportation is so beyond this immature reality. I thought after talking to my friend April perhaps trying to share a peek into my vision might "bee" a way to share my view of the annuals. I hope to fill the pollinator pantry's gaps with nectar and pollen and even some butterfly baby food. This is what I see as its possible future: "Bee"-cause the tall majestic Cannas offer a wind buffer and hummingbird nectar, I have congregated groupings of the new Tropicana Gold and the dark beauty, the original Tropicanna. Their beautifully striated leaves are not typically deer candy. They also have the slight potenial to return next year if its a mild enough winter ( so very cost effective potential) . Cannas can "bee"come a lovely and subtle color echo for the other neighboring annuals featured in the
Pollinator Junction Day of Promise
A Day of Promise By MaryAnn Fink LIFE Exhibit/ Curator Pollinator Junction Today was a day of promise at the Museum of Transportation's Pollinator Junction--my promise to the park to make her a haven and hers to me that she'll do her best. The park is showing some inkling of all that is happening or maybe not happening where most eyes can't see! The wild quinine, a favorite of small bees and bee mimics has started to flower. Also the first bee balm flowers braved a windy wet day to offer her nectar to the newly arrived ruby-throated hummingbirds! Too cloudy and misty for much pollinator activity, but great for singing birds and laughing children! The annual beds are almost ready-third pitch and it's a home run! It's gone from flat gray mucky, gritty subsoil that was nearly dead and compacted to the point of airless, without any signs of insects, worms or aggregation to crumbly aerated soil with living and breathing activity. Below I've outlined my "new bed"