Category Archives: Bees

Four for Spring

Carolina Chickadee with moss for nesting material just before entering a bird house

Nesting is in Full Swing

There’s a lot of nesting going on already.  We count at least 4 active nests in our yard, including Carolina Chickadee, Brown Thrasher, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Carolina Wren and perhaps a Song Sparrow.  Cardinals are eyeing nesting locations and there will probably be more soon.

Watch for Hummingbirds

A friend, who has much better eyesight than either of us, swears he saw a hummingbird in our yard yesterday.  He probably did.  The Native Honeysuckle is starting to bloom and that’s always been our indication that hummers are here, or will be shortly.

Most likely it will be a Ruby-throated Hummingbird that you see.  While they are the only hummingbird that nests in Georgia, 10 other species are seen in this state.  Time to plant hummingbird-friendly flowers and hang your feeders.

Trees Atlanta Native Wildflower and Vine Sale

Trees Atlanta is having their 5th annual Native Wildflower and Plant Sale on Saturday, April 1st at the Freedom Farmer’s Market at the Carter Center.  They will be selling native perennials and vines that are tree-friendly (it is a Trees Atlanta sale after all).

This is a chance to support Trees Atlanta and get great plants that are grown by reputable growers.  Their plant list for the sale has many of the plants that we have on our list of Perennials for Your Yard.  All good things for trees and for wildlife.

Create a Home for Native Bees

We follow an excellent blog called Using Georgia Native Plants.  In their post of March 12, they wrote about a new book titled  Bees – An Identification and Native Plant Foraging Guide  by Heather Holm.  We couldn’t do without our own copy, and it is a beautiful book.

If you read the blog post you’ll see that the author calls attention to a section in the book describing the value of trimming stems from last-year’s plants (perennials) to a length of about 15 inches.  The new growth will soon overtake the stems to hide them, but in the meantime this creates a home for tiny native bees that are so important as pollinators.  They will nest this spring and summer, overwinter in this safe haven and then emerge the following spring.

You can see the before and after efforts of our trimming below.

 

Two Classics

In our mid-September post we asked Can You Spot the Monarch in the Crowd?   The great news is that a few are being spotted here now!  In our yard we saw two the first of October and two more yesterday.  The photo below shows a monarch on a Georgia Aster, both stunning beauties in need of your help.

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly on Georgia Aster

While the egg and caterpillar stages of the monarch are restricted to milkweed (the Monarch’s only host plant), adults require other flowers to feed on.  Some great fall blooming pollinator-friendly plants are Georgia Aster, Goldenrod, Black-eyed Susan, native Sunflower and Pineapple Sage. [4]

Georgia Asters bloom in October and November providing food for pollinators.  They are perennials with woody stems up to 3 feet tall, have thick, dark green leaves and purple flowers  ranging from dark purple to lavender-violet to dark reddish purple.

The Georgia Aster is suffering in the wild due to its small, isolated populations and having its natural environment disturbed by humans. [5]  Only 146 populations are estimated to remain. [7]

References and Additional Information

[1]  The Intown Hawk:  Monarch Butterfly
[2]  Georgia Native Plant Society:  Georgia Aster: 2015 Plant of the Year
[3]  USDA Forest Service:  Conservation Partners Save Georgia Aster from Endangered Status
[4]  Dunwoody Nature Center:  The Milkweed Project – Initiative to Save the Monarch Butterfly
[5]  National Park Service:  Georgia Aster
[6]  Monarch Butterfly Garden:  Butterfly Plants List
[7]  U.S. Fish and Wildlife: Species Assessment and Listing Priority Assignment Form – Georgia Aster