Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Native Pollinator Garden Updates - 16 July 2014

I have written often in the past about the Native Pollinator gardens that we have installed at four local sites (three schools and a museum).  Over the past couple of days I have been busy adding some features to three of the gardens.

Saginaw Chippewa Academy Native Pollinator Garden

The garden at the Saginaw Chippewa Academy is the oldest garden of the four.  It was planted in 2011 and is now in its 4th summer of growth.  This garden is already registered through Monarch Watch as a Monarch Waystation #5092

In the past year another garden recognition program has also become available through an organization called Wild Ones.  Wild Ones is a national organization that promotes landscape health and biodiversity through the preservation, restoration, and establishment of native plant communities.  Their new program aims to recognize gardens/habitats that provide nectar sources and host plants for native butterfly species (especially Monarchs).  As a member of Wild Ones I am able to certify our gardens through this program.  Last week I received the following letter stating that the Saginaw Chippewa Academy Native Pollinator Garden was only the twenty-seventh garden in the country to be certified through this program!

Letter certifying the Saginaw Chippewa Academy Native Pollinator Garden as a Native Plant Butterfly Garden

In addition to the letter, I also received a metal sign to display in the garden.  Yesterday, I placed the sign in the garden alongside the Monarch Waystation sign.

New Native Plant Butterfly Garden sign displayed with Monarch Waystation sign

In addition to installing the new sign, I completed several more projects in the garden.  The garden needed a little bit of weeding.  Several self-seeded plants needed to be moved out of the pathway through the garden.  The tree rounds marking the pathway needed to be moved in one area.  Finally I installed a nesting box for native leafcutter and mason bees

This nesting site was made out of a 4 x 6 timber with holes cut through it with a hole saw.  Pieces of PVC pipe were inserted through the holes.  The rear of the pipes were capped and the front was cut at an angle to provide an overhang.  I filled the pipes with commercially available cardboard tubes that are designed for nesting bees, but you can also use pieces of bamboo, hollow stems from your garden, or branches with holes drilled in them.

Nesting site for native bees

A side view of the nesting box/post showing the angles front and capped back of the PVC pipes

A closer view of the nesting boxes

Nesting box for native bees filled with cardboard tubes

Here are a few more pictures of the SCA Native Pollinator Garden.

SCA Native Pollinator Garden - mass of flowers to the left are Bee Balm

Spiderwort, Butterflyweed, and Common Milkweed

Several plants were moved and this pathway straightened out

Cup Plant

Common Milkweed

Hoary Vervain

Rattlesnake Master

Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum Native Pollinator Garden

Several weeks ago, I registered the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum Native Pollinator Garden as Monarch Waystation #8536.  This Waystation is so new that it still is not listed on the Waystation Registry.  I put the Waystation sign last week and yesterday I added a native bee nesting box (just like the one at the Saginaw Chippewa Academy.  This a very young garden.  It was planted last year at the end of June during a very dry period.  Although it may not look like much to most people, I am very happy with how this garden is progressing.

The Monarch Waystation sign greets visitors at the entry portico

Bee nest box at the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum

A view of the MPDM Native Pollinator Garden - bee nest box in foreground, Waystation sign can be seen on porch beam

Winn Elementary Native Pollinator Garden

The final garden that I visited over the past two days was the one at Winn Elementary.  This garden is now in its 3rd summer of growth - it was planted in 2012.  The school previously registered this garden as Monarch Waystation #6704.  Despite having the sign for some time, it was not displayed in the garden.  Earlier this summer I got the sign from the school office with the intent of putting it up in the garden.  Yesterday I finally got around to doing it.

In addition to the Monarch Waystation sign, I also installed a sign recognizing this garden as a Native Plant Wildlife Garden.  The letter from Wild Ones indicates that this is the 28th garden/habitat to receive this certification.

Here are a couple of photos of the newly installed signs.

I also did a little weeding, raked around the mulch where it had been moved by the recent (heavy) rains and installed one of the bee nest boxes.  Here are a few more pictures of what this garden looks like as of this week.

Horsemint (right) and Butterflyweed (left)

Bee nest box - yellow flowers in foreground are Lance-leaf Coreopsis, the ones in the background are Western Sunflower

Western Sunflower

Red Baneberry

The curved front of the garden

The north end of the garden showing the bee nesting box - the paving stones were made by students

A birdbath made by students and parents



  1. Wow, terrific work Mike. I am amazed and pleased. Love the bee homes also. You really did a great job. Nice!

  2. Thanks. Sometime I need to have the Wild Ones members come over to take a tour of the gardens.