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EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

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It's Still Bumblebee City Out There.

15 Oct 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger

This is our wildflower garden in a much-needed drenching rain. It's pretty amazing that there's still so much life in our garden. There are so many bumblebees it's incredible, and these photos are all different ones. The massive queen in the first image was particularly impressive and a photo doesn't do her size justice.








View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

Pollinator Factoid:

Many crops that would benefit in quality and quantity from more thorough pollination are not sufficiently pollinated because of heavy pesticide applications (Ingram et al., 1996). Income from harvests could increase by an estimated $400 million per year if pollinators were available in sufficient numbers (Pimentel et al., 1992 In Ingram et al., 1996a).

Pollinators support biodiversity: There is a correlation between plant diversity and pollinator diversity (Heithaus, 1974 In Tepedino, 1979; Moldenke, 1975 In Tepedino, 1979; del Moral and Standley, 1979In Tepedino, 1979).

Declines in pollinators may make plants more vulnerable to extinction (Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America, 2007).

These are just a few of the important facts regarding pollinators and pesticides, and more will follow. Remember, YOU really do make a difference out there, and your work at EHS genuinely is important to the planet.

We're Finally Adding The Missing Ingredient.

30 Sep 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger


We're about 7 inches below the normal rainfall this year. That may not seem like a lot, but when you hear the big deal they're making about 1-3" of rain falling and wreaking havoc on Boston today, you begin to realize how cataclysmic 7" would be.


It never gets old seeing a new pollinator in our garden.




View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

Pollinator Factoid: As honey bees gather pollen and nectar for their survival, they pollinate crops such as apples, cranberries, melons and broccoli. Some crops, including blueberries and cherries, are 90-percent dependent on honey bee pollination; one crop, almonds, depends entirely on the honey bee for pollination at bloom time.

For many others, crop yield and quality would be greatly reduced without honey bee pollination. In fact, a 1999 Cornell University study documented that the contribution made by managed honey bees hired by U.S. crop growers to pollinate crops amounted to just over $14.6 billion.

Each year American farmers and growers continue to feed more people using less land. They produce an abundance of food that is nutritious and safe. Honey bees are very much a part of this modern agricultural success story. It’s estimated that there are about 2.4 million colonies in the U.S. today, two-thirds of which travel the country each year pollinating crops and producing honey and beeswax. More than one million colonies are used each year in California just to pollinate the state’s almond crop!

The $14.6 billion contribution made by managed honey bees comes in the form of increased yields and superior quality crops for growers and American consumers — a healthy beekeeping industry is invaluable to a healthy U.S. agricultural economy.

From American Beekeeping Federation

Our Wildflower Garden is not just important to the local pollinator population, it also does a small part for a huge portion of the US economy.


Unless You Look Closely, You'll Miss A World Of Beauty.

24 Sep 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger

In these early morning panoramas, it's hard to make out anything at all. Yet there are all kinds of flowers still blooming. And as Fall sets in with yesterday's Autumnal Equinox, you can still find our pollinators hard at work, even if they need some time in the sun to warm up before getting to it.

One of my favorite images, a honeybee waits for the sun to warm him up enough to head out gathering pollen.









You can really see the similarity between the Cosmos (right) and it's Sunflower relative in the this photo.

View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

Pollinator Factoid: Wild bees need long-lasting, undisturbed nesting sites in sunny, relatively bare patches of ground with a diversity of nectar and pollen-rich plants nearby. The greater the variety of flowering plants, the greater the number of bee species that will be attracted. One of the major risks, to both bee and plant diversity, is their separation through increasing fragmentation of wild uncultivated areas. Without bees, many flowering plants fail to set seed and without flowering plants, there is no food for bees. Leaving field margins, ditches, roadside verges and woodland edges unsprayed with chemicals, and undisturbed, does much for bee conservation.
From New Agriculturalist On-line

So, you see, our Wildflower Garden is really important to the local pollinator population. We can all be very proud of this project.

You'd Never Know There Was So Much Left

14 Sep 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger



Through the late Summer heat and drought, this Wildflower garden of ours just hangs on, with blooms still showing themselves. You just have to look a little harder.











They still keep our parking lot looking decorated.



View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

Pollinator Factoid: Did You Know, The Longest-Tongued Mammal Is a Pollinator? Pollinators needn’t be insects, of course. Birds, lizards, and mammals also play their part, including a bat that follows the evolutionary example of Darwin’s moth.

Discovered in cloud forests in Ecuador in 2005, the tube-lipped nectar bat (Anoura fistulata) has the longest tongue, relative to body length, of any known mammal.

The tiny mammal stores the 3.5-inch-long (9 centimeter) tongue—more than one and a half times the length of the bat’s body—in its ribcage.

The extraordinary organ marks the bat as the exclusive pollinator of a nectar-rich plant called Centropogon nigricans. Check out this incredible video:

 

The Dawn of Our Wildflower Autumn

03 Sep 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger



As we get the latest surge of wildflowers and all the activity that happens within it, it's hard not to think about how much more spectacular it will be next year. But that shouldn't take away from the huge success it has been in it's first year.

As the flowers die, the seeds become abundant. Aside from the more colorful goldfinches, there are also lots of sparrows, who hide in the bushes until the all clear. Then it's back to feeding in the wildflower garden. It's pretty funny to see this pair with their heads poking out of the bush.

And of course there are still lots of pollinators visiting.

View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

A green bottle fly contributing to the pollination effort in our wildflower garden.

Pollinator Factoid: Did you know that green bottle flies are pollinators? After bees, flies—especially hoverflies (aka flower or syrphid flies)—are among the most important pollinators of agricultural crops.

For instance, chocolate lovers have midges to thank for their vice: These flies are the sole pollinators of the cocoa tree, according to Ollerton.

But in attracting flies, many plants ditch the flowery approach, as their often bizarre and pungent blooms testify. Take the nausea-inducing corpse flower, Rafflesia arnoldii, a species that boasts the world's largest flower and smells like rotting carrion to attract flies.

The Wildflower Gift that Keeps on Giving

27 Aug 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger

More rains have helped things along . There are still all kinds of different blossoms going on, but as usual, the cosmos steal the show. There is a lot of ragweed in there as well, which the honeybees are going nuts for. Incidentally, consuming local honey is a great way to lessen your ragweed (and other) allergies for just this reason. The honeybees are all over this stuff and so heavy with pollen that it is actually weighing them down. Check it out:

Bumblebees are also really enjoying the cosmos and building huge pollen sacs from that as well.

I was going to snap a pic of this cool car in our parking lot (left) and a bumblebee on a cosmos got right in the middle of it.


Those flowers are so much nicer than looking at cigarette butts, beer cans and loser lottery tickets.

The shiny green/brassy head and thorax with wildly contrasting black and yellow-banded abdomen of Agapostemon texanus, or sweat bee :

And this is just a pretty cool shot of a bumblebee:

View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

 

Pollinator Factoid: Did you know that even the Department of Defense recognizes the importance of pollinators and the native plants they depend on? Pollinators Are Important to DoD’s Mission Because: Diverse, native plant communities are resilient to impacts from DoD activities and other stresses (such as drought and invasive species). They also make up the landscape on which warfighters depend for realistic training and testing. Restoring natural plant communities (and removing and controlling invasive species) can result in cost savings, and can protect threatened and endangered species. Native plants, for example, are better adapted to the environment and use less water and require fewer chemicals to be controlled. DoD installations present opportunities to restore habitats for pollinators and contribute to biodiversity and food security. By monitoring pollinator populations DoD could also be viewed as an important contributor to conservation and as an example to other federal agencies.

 

The Big Wildflower Show Is Coming

17 Aug 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger

This weeks Wildflower Garden panorama shows how tall the cosmos are getting. Some are already four feet with a stalk as thick as your thumb. They are randomly blossoming, but there are a ton of buds and it looks like the upcoming show is going to be pretty spectacular. Thankfully, we also got some much needed rain yesterday, about 2.5 inches according to the news.

Cosmos blossoms are popping up randomly...


And there are still other newcomers:

Here are this week's Wildflower Garden guests:



View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

 

Pollinator Factoid: Pollinators contribute to clean air by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen; they also contribute to clean water by preventing erosion with root systems and foliage that softens rainfall on the soil. In addition, flowering plants are beautiful to look at! Flowers decorate the gardens, prairies, and forests that are the foundation of our natural heritage.

 

Our Wildflower Garden Still Provides

12 Aug 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger

This is a panorama of our Wildflower Garden getting some much needed rain on Tuesday. Something that didn't happen anywhere near often enough this Summer. And even as our garden begins to prepare for the next season a bit early, that doesn't mean it isn't still providing well for local wildlife. The pollinators are still seeing plenty of action, and seed eating birds like the Goldfinch are reaping a massive bounty.

If you stop and take a good look at almost any time, you'll surprise all kinds of birds hiding amongst the foliage collecting seeds. They are, in essence, pollinating the landscape with our wildflowers, as they consume and redeposit seeds elsewhere.

But personally, my favorite aspect of the Wildflower Garden will always be it's guests. Here's this week's lineup:

Ruby Meadowhawk - Sympetrum rubicundulum

Bumble bee, possibly Common eastern bumble bee - Bombus impatiens. Notice full corbiculum/pollen basket.


Bumble bee, possibly Common eastern bumble bee - Bombus impatiens. Notice full corbiculum/pollen basket.

View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

 

Pollinator Factoid: It’s estimated that there are about 2.4 million colonies in the U.S. today, two-thirds of which travel the country each year pollinating crops and producing honey and beeswax. More than one million colonies are used each year in California just to pollinate the state’s almond crop!

 

Can You Spot The Pollinator?

05 Aug 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger

In each one of these photos, there is a small pollinator. Can you spot it? No tricks, it's there in each photo.

As the waning days of our wildflower garden begin, we get the impressive show from the huge cosmos flowers, the continuing work of the honeybees, and the birds hard at work collecting the seeds left over.

But that doesn't mean that we still aren't getting some nice latecomers to the party...

And as a reminder, the whole history of The Wildflower Project is available at this link: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

 

Pollinator Factoid: Most pollinators (about 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees.


New bee species discovered - Bombus Georgius Vilhelmus

31 Jul 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Hello Everyone,

The amount of honeybees in our wildflowers is amazing. There are clusters of half a dozen or more at times, as well as a generous helping spread throughout. As the first flowers fade away and dry up, and the goldfinches grab their seeds, the newest ones begin blooming. The cosmos get 4+ feet tall and will put on quite a show, as some of the first ones are already demonstrating.

One of the most unusual pollinators I've ever seen is this one: Bombus Georgius Vilhelmus.

er family.

Bombus Georgius Vilhelmus, or GW as we like to call him, came to EHS many years ago, and has been a huge fan of the Wildflower Project, always expressing heartfelt support and admiration. All of us, including our flowers, owe a debt to him. As he moves on to bigger wildflower gardens (today is his last day at EHS), he will be badly missed.

Every week we're getting new types of blooms in the garden, and the biggest ones are yet to come. Stay tuned...

 

Pollinator Factoid: Moths and orchids evolved together. One species of orchid from the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar —Angraecum sesquipedale—had a nectar spur longer than any known Madagascan insect could possibly feed from. The sphinx moth -Xanthopan morganii- actually evolved along with this orchid, to develop an 11 inch long tongue!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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