Thursday, December 12, 2013

Native Pollinator Garden in Winter

I know it is not yet winter for nine more days, but the temperature (3 degrees Fahrenheit last night) and snow on the ground say otherwise. 

I have shared photographs of native pollinator gardens in the Spring and Summer.   I thought I would share a few photographs of one of the gardens (Saginaw Chippewa Academy) in Winter.  The plants have all gone dormant at this stage.  As late as mid-November there were still a few blooms appearing on the Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia). 

Now, everything is brown and dry.  I won't remove the old flower stalks until spring.  Birds are consuming the seeds - the sunflowers are already picked bare. Some of the hollow stems may be used as nest chambers for native bees.  Their larva will not come out until Spring.  Other insects are burrowed down in the root crowns.  Last Spring when I cleaned out this garden I found two egg cases from praying mantids - they were popped into a jar where the nymphs hatched to the amazement of my wife's Second Grade students. 

Many gardeners remove all of the dead plant material in the fall.  One of the reasons that they give for this is so they don't have insects overwintering in the garden.  One of the whole points of gardening is to enjoy all of the insects and birds that are attracted to the garden.  Leaving the old stems over the winter will mean that you will have more insects and birds in your garden. 

Enjoy the pictures.

Native Pollinator Garden at the Saginaw Chippewa Academy

Tall plants in the winter garden include Big Bluestem, Indian Grass, Western Sunflower, and New England Aster.

Next year's garden is sitting there dormant, just waiting for warmer weather and more hours of sunlight.

Common Milkweed

New England Aster

Pale Indian Plantain

Big Bluestem Grass

Verbena spp. - probably Hoary Vervain

Waxing gibbous moon - meaning it's more than half visible and getting bigger

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