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"
By MaryAnn Fink, Pollinator Junction, LIFE Exhibit Curator A favorite word of mine is "Recology": localize, minimize, waste-less recycling...my way... as it applies to composting in the garden. Call it what ever, in its simple terms it's a "stop, chop and drop" mindset with garden debris, keeping a tight "in place" biocycle regardless of the time of year. Recology includes: Cutting back the garden in spring; Reducing a perennial plant's height mid-spring; Post-bloom deadheading, tree or shrub twig removal or weeding; Doing fall "top drop" of the summer annuals in September, putting it back in the garden. Recology can be done in various ways but it is always the same: STOP And "bee" sure you know what plant you are looking at before you consider any action. Know who it supports, its natural role and the purpose it serves in the chain of life. A perfect example the other day, on the edge of the path was a tiny unexpected pleasure. Mixed among some "wrong
By MaryAnn Fink, Pollinator Junction, LIFE Exhibit Curator Redbud tree/Cercis canadensis - Pollinary Park "food for thought" (and pollinators!) Redbud trees are native to Missouri. They are great pollinator food providers. These pretty spring flowering trees are pollinated primarily by bees, including our honeybees (Apis mellifera), "too-busy-to-care-about-us" bumblebees (Bombus spp.), and our gentle orchard bee (Osmia spp.). The "bunny hole bee" (Andrena spp.) might also consider the Redbud blossoms as fine dining. Redbud flowers supply both nectar and pollen to many adult pollinators and all through the growing season. The tree's foliage is also "butterfly baby food." The Redbud tree is a "host" plant for a small fairly common butterfly known as Henry's Elfin/Callophrys henrici. When any kind of plant is referred to as a "host," it means the leaves feed the baby butterflies while they are still caterpillars. The Henry's Elfin butterfly comes to drink nectar