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Virginia Bluebells

Recology

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

Redbud

Redbud Tree

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

Bluebells

Virginia Bluebells

By MaryAnn Fink, Pollinator Junction, LIFE Exhibit Curator Virginia Bluebells ( Mertensis virginica) This spring woodland flower's crystal blue flowers are easy on the eyes! This "Lady of the bells" chooses to live in a woodland setting where she rises up with a big yawn, a cluster of perfect apple green leaves at her feet and arms loaded with pink and blue blossoms. It does take a few chilling Spring rains tapping her on her sleepy underground head before she's fully awake and flower-filled but when she is, she's AMAZING! Her leafy fists are filled with down turned clusters of petite nectar goblets. She's like a fairy's maid who's cleaning up fancy party glasses after an all night fairy festival! In reality, this beauty's sweetness is a  delight most enjoyed from sunrise to sunset by many daytime pollinators. The early and lonely queen bumble bees seeks Virginia's cups of nectar as if her very survival depends on it-and it does!  The delightful nectar moths

Coneflower

Busiest Pollinator Transporters

By MaryAnn Fink, Pollinator Junction, LIFE Exhibit Curator Who are the "primary" pollinators most likely to visit the LIFE Exhibit at Pollinator Junction Park? Let's meet them and nine groups of "primary pollinators," and their most recognizable ambassadors. Our pollinator "ambassadors" are good representatives of a group of pollinators. They are the most familiar, most efficient,  most common, least aggressive, sometimes truly unique or just the easiest to recognize "pollen transporters." These pollinators are also the easiest to attract to our flowers. They need a place to eat and "bee" safe in our landscape. These all can "bee" fun to watch and welcomed part of our neighborhoods! These "pollination pros" also do most of the work of pollinating! These are our Pollinator Junction's Pollinator Pantry Ambassadors: 1) Butterflies and Skippers, the ambassadors: Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) Silver-spotted Skipper ( Epargyreus clarus) 2) Nectar Moths

monarch-butterfly-chris-lord Pollinator Garden photo

Volunteer Gardening Work Days

Volunteer Gardening Work Days, Thursdays 8 - 11 a.m. The Museum of Transportation has native wildflower gardens, prairie gardens, pollinator gardens, and natural areas. These add beauty as well as much needed habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Volunteers of all experience levels are needed. We need help to pull weeds, install new plantings, water, mulch, and remove honeysuckle. Experienced gardeners are needed to mentor those who are new to gardening and supervise large groups. Currently, we host volunteer work days every Thursday from 8 - 11 a.m., but location may vary so it's good to call ahead or text (847) 289-9760. Other work days may be added over time, so please check Events Calendar - Museum of Transportation. Volunteers are asked to dress for the weather -- Long sleeves (with short sleeves underneath), long pants, hat, durable close-toed shoes, eye protection (it's fine to wear glasses) when trimming, a bucket, leather gloves, hand spade or