Monday, March 5, 2012

Garden Blitz

A takeaway from our time spent attending the recent Garden Blitz at the Missouri Botanical Garden was that if you want to have bluebirds, you have to have caterpillars, although perhaps not quite like this one (above) at the entrance to the Butterfly House. Bluebirds can take over 300 caterpillars a day while feeding their young! The day was well spent learning more about native plants, birds, pollinators and sustainable gardening. The keynote address by Doug Tallamy alone was worth the drive. He had beautiful photos of many many caterpillars and insects that need native plants and which are then eaten by our native birds. Do read his book "Bringing Nature Home" if you have not done so.

Another takeaway: reduce the amount of yard you mow and plant more oaks. Oaks are the #1 plant species when it comes to supporting Lepidoptera. They support 534 species.

The talk given by Mike Arduser, a research assistant specializing in solitary bees at the University of Missouri, was very good. There are over 3,500 bee species in North America most of which are native and seasonal, unlike the honey bee Apis mellifers, which is what most people think of when one mentions bees. Mike also explained how to build nesting boxes for some of the native bees and had nesting boxes for us to physically take away!

Below is one of MANY photos taken that day of the beautifully displayed orchids at the Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show occurring simultaneously at the garden.
On the way home, a dinner stop at Firefly in Effingham was a great way to end the Blitz.

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