Holistic Pollinator Habitat |Eva Van Dyke |Central Texas Gardener


And don’t miss the spectacular Heart O’ Texas Orchid Society 45th Annual Show & Sale That’s going to be happening on
April 23rd and 24th you can find out more at hotos.com or. And right now
we’re going to be talking about holistic pollinator habitats and we’re joined by
Eva Vandyck who’s from Barton Springs Nursery, welcome to the show. -It’s great to be here. -It’s a real pleasure to have you and I love the the focus of this interview –
holistic pollinator habitats. So many of our pollinators are in trouble – bees and
butterflies, etcetera and what you’re advocating for is a really kind of
high-level view of thinking about how you can garden for the pollinators.
-A holistic view altogether people have been butterfly gardening for
a while which is always nice and well we’re starting to be aware that these are
in trouble too and honey bees have been around for a long time but what most
people are not aware of is that we also have four thousand different species of
native bees in the United States several hundred of them in Texas alone and
you don’t have to be a beekeeper to help the bees that’s wonderful because we can
create habitat but bees mostly need is habitat and when you create wildlife
habitat you just need to fulfill the four basic needs of food water shelter
and a place to raise young and for native bees that would be providing food
and a form of nectar and pollen and a place to raise young, which are nesting sites. well those are some very simple
easy-to-understand kinds of categories also it’s important to have a succession of
plants so that it becomes a year-round place for the bees and butterflies.
-Exactly we want to have food year-round for the bees to find something to eat let’s start off with early bloomers and
that’s why I brought some shrubs and young trees to plant in your garden because lots of people know about perennials and flowers being bee food and I like shrubs and
trees for bee food as well because the benefits of trees and shrubs is that, one-for-one,
there’s lots of nectar and pollen all in one place so the bees don’t have to fly so far
and spend energy searching for more food and the other thing is there’s a nice place
to perch for big butterflies which have a hard time sitting on a small
perennials. -Okay and then it’s also important to think about larval plants, a fodder if you will for
the for the young caterpillars from the butterflies. For butterflies we don’t just want
to think about nectar we also need to think about places to raise young and
the babies will eat the leaves of a specific host plants. -Right well and you
have to be a little tolerant to butterfly garden because you’re gonna get some
chewing. -I plan specifically for who will eat it but in my philosophy
reasonable damage, reasonable nibbling on our landscape plants can be tolerated. For the sake of a good ecosystem. -Right and one other
thing to think about when you’re trying to garden for pollinators is your
use of pesticides even organic pesticides right? -Yes, even the most organic pesticide will disrupt that ecosystem. For example, a big shade tree will have
little tiny tree ants living in it and that’s good for the tree to loosen the
soil to bring the nutrients down into the soil and for example the Texas
spiny lizard, the babies, the tiny ones when they’ve just hatched they eat only those tree ants, so they need those to survive and and later one we need those Texas spiny lizards to eat our garden pests. So it’s all connected. Indeed it is. And you know even
some of the unlikely critters out there in the garden can be our friends and
allies. -Yeah, I was in my garden – I support snails and pill bugs and what
I’ve observed is as long as you have enough organic matter they would much
rather eat decaying material than eat your plants And much like your earth worms below ground,
snails and pill bugs can be above ground Cleanup crew will turn all that organic
matter back into good soil for you. Right, well you’ve brought some beautiful plants
along with you these are come from Barton Springs Nursery, who we want to thank. I’m
going to start just by picking up one of these grasses that you brought, this
is one I’ve never seen before that I’m aware, and I certainly have not gardened with
it. It’s a Texas native called twin flower melica. Tell me about it and how it
benefits pollinators. I’ve planted that in my yard and it’s so nice. I love the color, I love
the seed heads, the flowers. Grass is perennial and native grasses benefit our
pollinators because they they benefit our general soil health. They bring
their roots, they have such an extensive and deep roots system that water, they prevent
water run out so water will just percolate down those long roots into the ground and
they can also lose a big part of their root system unharmed so what that does, all those roots when they decompose will add nutrients and drainage into the soil all while providing
erosion control. And they also provide a place of shelter for a lot of insects. Yes, fireflies are a good example. They
spend two years of their life underground, most of their lives underground, so
don’t assume that a grub is necessarily a bad thing because firefly babies are grubs. Well you’ve brought along some groups of plants and we’re gonna move through and talk about some different plant
strategies with these. The first group is plants from the mallow family and tell
me a little bit about the benefits of these plans for pollinators. -So I just plant it myself, a nice mallow garden. The fun thing about mallows is while lots of our bees are generalists, like the Honey Bee that means they’ll happily eat the nectar
of any pollen and nectar and pollen of any plant. There are specialists bees in Texas too that specifically seek out to mallow family, they’re called mallow bees or winecup bees, so all these plants are wonderful pollinators. So I’ve got the desert globe mallow, the standing winecup The standing winecup is a beautiful little plant, nice ground
cover as well so great thing to think about it especially if we have bees that that’s
just what they do is go to the mallows. -And you can prevent species
disappearance with that. Well salvias, everybody who gardens salvias, knows the
bees love them and there’s so many different varieties you brought several
forms of zinnias but there this is a plant family that keeps the bees happy year-round. Yes, it’s hard to bring a salvia because they they’re just such great
all-around performance they bloom from spring through fall never quit and bees, especially bumblebees,
just love them. yeah, I think they’re terrific and there
are a whole array of different kinds of ground covers as well. There’s locust
and frogfruit and some other things we have to think about all the
levels of the garden as well. you know you start with the ground
covers and then plant your under story and your tall trees, to work together and don’t
forget the small the ground covers your lawn weeds that have now been elevated
into ground cover status by the widlflower center. Like the horse herb, or straggler daisy, another name for it, one of my favorite plants in Central Texas. Hard to not love a plan that
survives like that. -It’s our miniature Texas sunflower. Right, very miniature. Now, the asters, of course, are great for butterflies, and it’s also typically a fall plant, right? -Mhm, fall plant asters and the mist flower are both great fall plants because the monarch migration is in the fall. -Timed for the asters, or vice versa. -And also bees that are going to overwinter they’re hungry, they need to collect nectar and pollen. -It’s a very important plant family
especially for those who do butterfly gardening because a lot of these plants are just champs
for that. Now, you referenced earlier conversation that you were bringing some
spring flowering plants in and there’s a whole variety of things you brought there. There’s
one thing that’s there that I want to call out and that is the BlackBerry. Because providing something that actually in
addition to blooming produces fruit is important as well Yeah I brought the blackberry because bumblebees love plants in the rose family They love blackberries, they love our fruit trees and
we often overlook what a good pollinator for our garden crops the bumblebees are.
And you can help them by leaving some patches in your yard bare Because oftentimes they nest in the ground
and they’ll dig that nest into loose soil so those sunny slopes with bare soil will help
attract bumble bees. And real quickly, there’s an anacua, a little one gallon anacua blooming down there and and this is this is in full bloom. I’ve never seen
an anacua bloom like this Another early spring favorite for a lot of
different pollinators. -Spring into summer it’s a wonderful treat for us that a
textile oriented those leaves are wonderful to touch, it’s also called the sandpaper
tree -For good cause. -and the pollinators love it. To get a complete list of the plants recommended by Eva go to our website that is KLRU dot org / CTG. It’s
been a real pleasure visiting with you Eva. And again, thank you to all our friends at
Barton Springs nursery and wish you well and thank you for sharing these very
important strategies for, you know, the benefit of all those great pollinators out there.
-Thank you for having me. -It’s our pleasure, thanks so much. And coming up next is our friend Daphne.

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