Saturday, June 13, 2020


You'll have to admit that our self-quarantine has given us permission to dally.  I am getting accustomed to puttering here and there throughout the day.  I accomplish what needs to be done but I also entertain too many distractions along the way.  Is that a bad thing?  Probably not, it keeps the blood pressure stable and is a daily reminder of our obligation to Mother Nature.

Swallowtail Butterfly
As we go about our daily routines give some thought to June being declared "National Pollinator Month".  Specifically June 22-28 is designated as "National Pollinator Week" sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

It is a sobering thought that 75% of the worlds flowering plants depend on pollinators.  One out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of pollinators.

 Pollinators are attracted to the same things we are: color, fragrance and flower form.

Butterflies seem to be attracted to red, orange and yellow.  I never think about night blooming plants.  Truth be told, I don't think I can name any other than the Moonflower Vine which is an Ipomoea and cousin to the Morning Glory.  The night blooming plants are also important to support moths and bats.

There are some fine points to consider when choosing plants for pollinator food.  Avoid modern hybrid flowers with double flowers.  Sometimes plant breeders have left the pollen, nectar and fragrance out of the blossoms creating the biggest, most perfect blooms.  That's great for Country Fair entries and the possibility of a blue ribbon winner but of little help to the sustainability of our environment. 

Swallowtail Caterpillar
Eliminate pesticides whenever possible.  If you must use them, spray at night when bees and other pollinators are not active.  I know, that's not the directions on the container.  You have to follow your own path. 

Don't be such a neat-freak.  If you want beautiful butterflies you have to be tolerant.  Accept the fact that some host plants are actually WEEDS.  

 A well planned, efficient pollinator garden has many parts.  It is a healthy balance of grasses, garden flowers (annuals and perennials), shrubs and trees.  Think about including some native plants to support the native bee population.

Spend some time studying the possibilities in your copy of "Water-Wise Gardening in Central Oregon".  The butterfly, bird and bee symbols are there for a reason.  They help us to simplify  and make choices that benefit our environment.

Be sure to listen to the Gardening: Get Good at It,  "Your June Veggie Garden Care" segment on Tues. June 16 on KPOV 88.9 FM between 9-9:30 am.

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