Pollinator week!!

National Pollinator Week is here! In 2007, the U.S. Senate designated a week in June to help our declining pollinator populations. This year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior designated June 19-25 as National Pollinator Week.

A local event that promises lots of ideas is the Durham Pollinator Garden Tour. This is the inaugural tour, and tickets and maps can be found at http://durhamgardentour.com/. The tour is another production of Keep Durham Beautiful, Inc., which has great programs all year long. Tickets can be bought by the car, so gather some of your friends and make a day of it!

swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata
swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata

You can find other events at Pollinator Partnership.

To kick off the week, I found a stand of swamp milkweeds (Asclepias incarnata) in RTP on Sunday, but only one monarch caterpillar was in sight. I wasn’t dressed to go wading in the stand to find more—snake boots are a must!

Monarch caterpillar, Danaus plexippus
Monarch caterpillar, Danaus plexippus

 Nearby was a stand of Indian hemp, which is also a native popular with pollinators, but rather aggressive; I’ve got a stand of it on my property that grows exponentially each year. It’s related to mikweeds and even exudes milky sap that is irritating to human skin.

Indian hemp, Apocynum cannabinum
Indian hemp, Apocynum cannabinum

In Raleigh, Helen Yoest’s nonprofit, Bee Better, is having a raffle of a beautiful  photo encaustic work by Jayne Walther. Look for her post on June 15 on FaceBook. Bee Better’s mission is to “help homeowners build better backyards for birds, bees, & butterflies. Our work focuses on ecoregion 231, Southeastern Mixed Forest Province, including the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and parts of Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Maryland.” I’m a member of this group, and we have interesting workshops and meetings about every month.

 

So get out there, get some ideas, and plant a small garden for the pollinators!

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