Thursday, April 30, 2009

More About Native Plants . . .

Great article from the NYTimes:

The book the writer speaks of, “Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in our Gardens” (Timber Press, 2007), by Douglas W. Tallamy, is the book that inspired our recent native plantings as well. And I am fired up to start planting more. I noticed lots of native bees buzzing around the dandelions in the early spring. But S is allergic to them, so we have to pull them out. And no, dandelions are not native but all kinds of bees like them.

We are also being sure to leave some uncovered ground to provide nesting area for native bees. Most bees native to North America burrow in the soil or in wood and do not live in hives. So leave some portion of your yard unplanted, to give those sweeties room to roost. If you can't tell, I love bees and bees love me. I'm one of those weirdos who's never been stung. (Now watch me go get stung right now).

Here's more of why you (yes, you) need to put some native, flowering plants in your garden, if you haven't already:

"My Korean spicebushes (Viburnum carlesii) are also in full bloom, their clusters of pinkish-white flowers filling the air with the heady scent of cinnamon and honey. But it’s striking how few bees are sipping nectar from these Asian shrubs compared with my native redbud and sassafras trees, which are literally vibrating with pollinators.

It bears out the research that Gordon Frankie, an entomologist at the University of California, Berkeley, has begun in gardens around that city, where he and his students have surveyed 1,000 different plants, both native and nonnative.

“Only 50 were native plants, but of that 50, 80 percent were attractive to pollinators,” Professor Frankie said. “In contrast, only 10 percent of the 950 nonnatives were attractive to pollinators.”"

Go native, y'all!

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