Saturday, July 16, 2016

I'll BEE there: Native Plants and Pollinators

Our friends at the Midwest Native Plant Society are hosting a Pollinator Workshop at Caesar Creek on August 13th, 2016.  In my book, this is a not-to-miss event.  There is a tremendous amount of interest in pollinators all across the country and it is not all European honeybees doing the work!

Get ready to "Bumble"!

Bumblebees come in many "flavors."
 There are several types of bumblebees native to Ohio. It would be great to understand their differences!

Tiger Swallowtail and Spicebush Swallowtail!
 Butterflies are pollinators, too! And while we have heard plenty about declining numbers of Monarchs, there is more to the world of Lepidoptera than all gloom and doom.

We can help you sort out the common butterfly species on our  afternoon field trips.

Native bees and pollinating flies abound!
I can't wait to learn more about the unique relationships between native plants and pollinators.

Good thing we have Heather Holm speaking at this Pollinator Workshop at Caesar Creek on August 13th, 2016.  She will have her awesome book for sale too!

Pollinators of Native Plants is "an excellent guide that will help you attract, observe and identify native pollinators! Her presentation is a fascinating journey showcasing the development of different flower types and the presentation of floral resources to pollinators.  Heather will provide many specific examples of how native plants are pollinated and what pollinator is most effective and why."*

Heather Holm and her fabulous book.
"Author of Pollinators of Native Plants, Heather Holm owns a Minnesota-based landscape design and consulting firm specializing in pollinator landscapes and native landscape restorations. She is currently working the University of Minnesota Extension faculty on a three year study to determine the types of native bees that visit cultivated blueberries in Minnesota. The study includes developing customized forage plantings for the native bees identified, and providing additional or enhancing existing nesting sites within the farms. Heather is an environmental educator and frequent presenter at conferences in the Midwest and Northeast. She writes for Houzz, a social media website, about pollinators, beneficial insects and native plants."*

I'll be there leading field trips for this event and I hope to see you there, too!

 Registration at

*Quoted text from Midwest Native Plant's website.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Lakeside Flowers and Fun

The best vacations often combine beauty, relaxation and fun.  Our family thinks Lakeside, Ohio fits the bill perfectly.  It has been our long-standing tradition to be there for the annual Fourth of July festivities. But a huge part of my enjoyment comes from visiting the non-stop flower displays generously sprinkled across the grounds. Lakeside's lakefront has been declared as the "Most Beautiful Mile" in Ohio.

Hollyhocks as colorful as fireworks
The Gundlach Garden is an old-timey cottage style garden on the west end of town which features a brilliant firework-like display of hollyhocks. Visitors often photograph these stately flowers against the back-drop of Lake Erie. Every article written on hollyhocks warns us not to plant them in windy locations, so Lakeside hollyhocks persist with a spirit that defy all odds.

A closer look at the heavy pollen.
A closer look betrays a heavy pollen load at play here.  Most literature I read says they are very attractive to bees and hummingbirds. Hummingbirds?  Where is the nectar reward?  I'll be watching to see what takes an interest in these old-fashion favorites. It is interesting to look closely at our plants and to better understand their ecosystems at work.

Getting a nature, science and beauty "fix."
 Leave it to Lakeside to encourage one tho think "out of the box" a bit.  The Lakeside Campground Association was offering science courses to woman back in the 1890's!  The long standing tradition of education, recreation, religion and cultural arts are the very pillars of the Lakeside Chautauqua Movement. It is intentionally designed to feed both mind and soul.

Historic Hotel Lakeside
 Our Hotel Lakeside is a Victorian hotel which perfectly combines modern needs with the beauty of an age gone by. You too can stay in this Grand old Gal from June to early October. It is one of our designated conference hotels for  Flora-Quest and OOS's Rally for Rails.  This is your chance to see Lakeside in the off-season.

Summer fun on Lake Erie
During the summer the lakefront is active with swimmers and boats. A good, stiff lake breeze will bring out a fleet of Sunfish sailboats, too.  This is all part of the recreation for which Lakeside is famous. Mini golf, swimming, shuffleboard, tennis, bike riders, fitness walkers and plenty of runners keep this active town on the move!

Happy Fourth of July!
So here's to a wonderful Holiday!  I hope you all were able to spend time with your family and friends, enjoying beauty, fun and some physical activity.  Next year, feel free to join me and a couple thousand of my friends on the shore of Lake Erie!