Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Natives Are Restless

Here is a new favorite for my "blue" garden- Spotted Bee Balm, or Monarda punctata L. Thanks to Hannah from the Friends of Horton Park for suggesting this wacky-yet-beautiful native for the sandy soil here. As I was checking it out today, I saw a number of different wasps and bees doing their thing. It reminded me of my Leadplant earlier in the season. I saw 4 or 5 different types of bees on that native plant at one time (they move fast, so its a bit hard to count). The pollinator sightings would please the Horton Park community gardeners, many whom have taken a course on native pollinators this season.

My winged visitors highlight an important reason to plant natives in your landscapes- to provide food sources for our native insects. As we use more and more cultivars (like the petunias on the left of the monarda) the options for native pollinators become slim which impacts the foodweb that relies on those insects. The diversity of insects can also be on your side when it comes to bad bugs.

Just last night, as I was with a group of community gardeners in SE Como brainstorming ideas for a rain garden at Como Corner Community Garden (a project sponsored by SECIA and Mississippi Watershed Management Organization) and one of the gardeners had a book in hand by Douglas W. Tallamy called "Bringing nature home". As we envisioned raingardens, cisterns, dry creek beds, the group also insisted upon native plants and "ugly bugs". The word is spreading about the important role these insects have in the greenspaces of our cities and suburbs. Something the Horton Park community gardeners would cheer on.

1 comment:

  1. Shortly after posting this, I found this link that IDs pollinators via a fellow community gardener- http://pollinator.com/identify/whatsbuzzin.htm