Monarch on Milkweed Blooms

            It’s August, and each time I step into my yard it is with anticipation and excitement. I usually bring my camera out with me as it has become a hobby of mine to document with pictures the activity in my home landscape. That is because I have a natural landscape comprised of native plants. The populations of pollinators peak occurs in August, and, not coincidentally, but because it’s also the peak time wildflower blooming. There are pretty creatures with pretty flowers.

            Yes, pollinators are around through the 3 growing seasons, spring, summer and fall. To attract and support pollinators we need to provide nectar sources and the other items that support them through these seasons.

            Pollinator populations rebuild each year with mainly the Queens over wintering and then raising new colonies and broods. Thus, it takes until midsummer to get the large number of pollinators I expect to see. People sometimes ask me in spring and early summer, “where are the Bees” and I say “don’t worry, their coming”.   At least they are coming if you have a natural landscape that will support them; a landscape containing native plant species that provides good nectar and pollen, nesting sites, water and shelter.

            At this time of year, from August into the fall, it’s the Asteraceae family that provides the most bloom. The bees and butterflies go crazy for Asteraceae flowers which includes black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, ironweed, boneset, Joe-Pye-Weed, blazingstar, goldenrod, coreopsis, sunflower, and of course asters.  This is not a complete list since the Asteraceae family is our largest family of flowering plants as there are numerous species of goldenrod’s, coneflower’s and asters etc.

            Pollinators are generally in decline while some have become endangered of extinction. Taking into considering that 85% of our plants need pollinators to fertilize their flowers and produce seeds, pollinators are extremely important. We cannot live without them. Our native bees are the most important because they are our primary pollinators.

 For more information on creating a pollinator friendly landscape, feel free to contact the Sydenham Field Naturalists (SFN).  I also recommend the books ‘Natures Best Hope” by Doug Tallamy and “The Bees In Your Backyard” by Joseph S. Wilson & Olivia Messinger Carril.

The attached photos of pollinators visiting the flowers in my home landscape were taken by me this year.

Enjoy nature, it’ll do you good

Thanks

Larry Cornelis

President SFN