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Witch hazel

Bee Witched by First Flowers of the Season

by MaryAnn Fink, Curator of Living Transport Exhibit Lead Horticulturist Pollinator Junction Bee happy-it's almost spring! What better way to celebrate the sporadic temperature shifts and "what's next weather" of St. Louis, than enjoying the tiny but lovely first flowers of the season at the National Museum of Transportation's Pollinator Junction. These beauties are on our Ozark Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis). The petite strappy flower petals can be a range of colors from shades of yellow to dark purple-red. The coiled ribbons of color remain rolled tight on cold cloudy days and gently unfurl on sunny days as temperatures peak. Each extended petal "bee"comes a tiny royal carpet welcoming our earliest pollinators. There is some question as to who all that might be but it obvious that these flowers are naturally intended for some tiny hungry creature as they are sweetly fragrant! No doubt some warm sunny day flower flies are hungry-and maybe honey bees (Apis

Bee Balm Pollinator Garden

“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

Wild quinine MOT

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"

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

Pollinator park statue with MaryAnn Fink and Doug Wolter

Pollinary Park Butterfly Fairy Statue

We installed a new butterfly fairy statue in the Museum of Transportation's Pollinary Park this week. The attached photo pictures our very own MaryAnn Fink along with the statue (BTW, not the tall gentleman, he's Doug Wolter--the statue has the wings). We are having fun at