decorah envirothon introduction to pollinator gardens

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Introduction to Pollinator Gardens Why use native plants? Adapted to local environment—weather, pests, soils, etc. (use local sources) Useful for native animals—food and shelter Won’t become invasive (some could be aggressive) Good non-native plants: early color in the spring, complement for prairie yellows, but choose wisely! Planning: goals, site evaluation, and research Common goals: beauty, wildlife benefits, open space or visual barrier, etc. Site evaluation: slope, aspect, moisture & drainage, soil, shade, and adjacent/competing vegetation Built environment: power lines, pavement/road, foundation, septic system, underground utilities Other considerations: maintenance needs, neighbors & visibility, potential deer & rabbit problems, etc.

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Introduction to Pollinator Gardens

Introduction to Pollinator Gardens Why use native plants? Adapted to local environmentweather, pests, soils, etc. (use local sources) Useful for native animalsfood and shelter Wont become invasive (some could be aggressive)

Good non-native plants: early color in the spring, complement for prairie yellows, but choose wisely!

Planning: goals, site evaluation, and research

Common goals: beauty, wildlife benefits, open space or visual barrier, etc.

Site evaluation: slope, aspect, moisture & drainage, soil, shade, and adjacent/competing vegetationBuilt environment: power lines, pavement/road, foundation, septic system, underground utilitiesOther considerations: maintenance needs, neighbors & visibility, potential deer & rabbit problems, etc.

Sources: Prairie Moon, Ion Exchange, and Shooting Star

Columbine is also called rock bells.

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Columbine likes limestone

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Canada anemone

Canada anemone nice and easy to grow

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Prairie phlox

A pioneer favorite

Great though slow to establish in drier ground

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Prairie phlox bouquet

Prairie phlox bouquet

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Spiderwort

Look for these lovely plants in wetter prairie areas.

Cant take crowding

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Spiderwort legs

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Golden Alexander

Easy to grow in plantings but not often added

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Golden Alexander is NOT wild parsnip

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Pale purple coneflower field

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Pale purple coneflower petals droop down

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Pale purple coneflower makes a nice planting

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Meadow rue

Relatively easy to establish in wetter soils

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Meadow rue is Maid of the Mist

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Wild rose Iowas state flower

Takes time to show up in a prairie planting

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Wild rose habitat

Wild rose habitat

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Four wild rose hips have more vitamin C than an orange.

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Black-eyed Susan

A good flower for prairie plantings since they bloom the second year and add quick color

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Wild quinine plant usually successful in plantings

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Wild quinine can be used to treat high fevers

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White wild indigo

Roots can be treated to make a weak blue dye.

Easy to grow and adds interest to prairie plantings

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White wild indigo rattle pods sound like a rattlesnake when shaken

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Ox-eye is a very hardy prairie plant and good for a colorful prairie yard garden

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Ox-eye flower

Ox-eye flower

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Unplowed prairie land is loaded with flowers by summer

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Common milkweed another easy to grow and great for butterfly prairie plant.

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Great-spangled fritillary on milkweed

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Monarch butterfly on sunflower- their caterpillars only eat milkweed leaves.

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Swamp milkweed habitatSwamp milkweed habitat

Swamp milkweed habitat

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Honeybee on swamp milkweed

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Eyed brown captured by crab spider on swamp milkweed

Difficult to keep around

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Swamp milkweed seedpods breaking open

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Butterfly milkweed has bright orange flowers.

A super flower for plantings but tends to wink out over time.

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Butterfly milkweed

This plant catches the attention of people and butterflies passing by

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Butterfly milkweed & monarch

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Butterfly milkweed

Butterfly milkweed found mostly on dry goat prairies around here.

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Green milkweed

Rare on native prairies.A dozen different milkweed species in Iowa.

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Michigan lily

Grows to five feet tall.

Needs wetter soils but will colonize

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Michigan lily

Also called martagon, since those petals curl back like the fancy Turkish cap.

Otherwise resembles the garden tiger lily.

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Culvers root

Nice white spires and easy to grow.

A natural laxative

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Rattlesnake master is easy to grow and looks cool, like a Midwest cactus.

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Rattlesnake master flowers

Rattlesnake master flowers

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Long-horned grasshopper(a.k.a. katydid) on rattlesnake master

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Compass plant a good choice for some height in the yard prairie garden.

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Compass plant leaves point north

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Compass plant flowers

Compass plant flowers look like sunflowers

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Compass plant sap makes a super chewing gum.

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Wild onion

Tastes great and not tough to grow if given plenty of open spaces.

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Gray-headed coneflower a durable prairie plant with a long blooming period, growing about waist-high.

Sleepy Susans

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Gray-headed coneflower

Gray-headed coneflowers have a long blooming season

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Wild bergamot easy to grow, not-too tall, smells like mint and makes strong tea whats not to like.

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Wild bergamot

Wild bergamot also called horsemint or bee balm.

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Joe Pye weed

Joe Pye weed likes water

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Boneset likes to grow around Joe Pye weed.

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Boneset good choice for a rain garden.

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Goldenrods farewell to summer

Goldenrods farewell to summer

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Elm-leaved goldenrod leave in the ditch.

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Stiff goldenrod

Stiff goldenrod good for the garden

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Sawtooth sunflowers super easy to grow and spread.

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Sawtooth sunflower flower makes a rich yellow dye.

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Cup plant

Cup plant very tall and aggressive.

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Cup plant flowers

Cup plant flowers

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Cup plant cup

Cup plant cup

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New England aster - nice

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Cream gentian

Theeasiest gentian to grow. Tolerates many soil types.

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Prairie grasses shine in September

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Sideoats gramma a very delicate grass that likes dry ground and little stress.

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Northern (prairie) dropseed fantastic but very fussy.

Prefers heavy clay soil.

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Indiangrass

Indiangrass is tall and showy.

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Indiangrassseedhead very nice but at least head high and can be aggressive.

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Little bluestembunches

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Little bluestem seedtufts plant a ton of this stuff.

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Big bluestem

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Big bluestem stalks the standard-bearer for typical tall-grass prairie.

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Big bluestem turkeyfoot seedheads

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Big bluestem stands out at sunset

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Prairie diversity makes a pretty scene to stroll through

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Colors fade to duller shades through the fall

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Brown grass stems dominate by November

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Ant mound old ones are great for hibernating green snakes.

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Winter winds dry out dead grass stands

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Spring storms set the prairie on fire

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Prairie fire at sunset

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After the fire the land has been fed

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Honeybees are arguably the most beneficial bugs in the world.

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We know they pollinate most of our beautiful wild and garden flowers.

Other insects play a huge role in pollinating both wildflowers and garden flowers. The good thing about honeybees is that they can be transported to huge fields of almonds in California where there are not enough natural pollinators to do the job.87

Honeybees are also the main pollinator for many crops we grow for food.

They say about 1/3 of humanitys crops rely on insect pollinators. In NE Iowa the most important crops would probably be apples and alfalfa. Most vegetable and sweet fruits need insect pollinators; grain or cereal crops do not. 88

This apple orchard blooming in April needs to be visited by bees before any fruit can form.

Red ripe apples in autumn, thanks to the work of busy honeybees.

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Honeybees get a reward, in the form of nectar, for that work.

Honeybees turn that nectar into honey, which we can siphon off a sample from their hives, for a real sweet treat.

Wildflower field

Wildflower fields are wonderful places for butterflies.

Wildflower fields are wonderful places for butterflies.

The best way to start looking for butterflies is to go outside to a place with plenty of flowers and sunshine. 93

Tiger swallowtail a fantastic flying flower

Tiger swallowtail a fantastic flying flower

Tiger swallowtail a fantastic flying flower

Their stripes look a bit like a tiger and their pointy tails look a bit like the long forked tail of a barn swallow. Hence the name, Tiger Swallowtail.94

Tiger swallowtail ventral viewTiger swallowtails are big and mostly yellow.

Tiger swallowtail ventral viewTiger swallowtails are big and mostly yellow.

Tiger swallowtail ventral viewTiger swallowtails are big and mostly yellow.

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Giant swallowtail the biggest butterfly in NE Iowa.

Their wingspan is 4-6 inches. 96

Black swallowtail male

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Black swallowtail female shows less yellow and more blue.Black swallowtails are mostly black.

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Black swallowtail caterpillars can sometimes be found in the garden, crawling around on members of the carrot family.

Does anyone know some of the plants that are in the carrot family? Parsley, dill, celery and parsnips are a few of the plants in the garden. 99

Black swallowtail caterpillars show orange devil horns when scared.

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In they wild they eat Queen- Annes lace (wild carrot)

Because host plants are so prolific, black swallowtails are our most common type of swallowtail.101

Red-spotted purple looks like a black swallowtail without the tails.

I think this butterflys name is a bit silly. Its black and blue with orange spots! 102

Mourning cloak out early in spring, usually by late March after overwintering as an adult under some loose tree bark.

They are one of the earliest butterflies out and about early in the year.103

The red admiral has red stripes running up into the forewing.

One of my favorites!104

Great-spangled Fritillary

The great-spangled fritillary is a big, all orange butterfly.

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Great-spangled fritillary (ventral view). Count the butterfly money.

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Great-spangled fritillary nectaring on milkweed. Fritillaries are often mistaken for another orange butterfly found around milkweed plants.

Great-spangled fritillary nectaring on milkweed. Fritillaries are often mistaken for another orange butterfly found around milkweed plants.

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Monarch male (with pouches)

Monarch male (with pheromone pouches)

Everyones favorite, the Monarch! Start looking for monarchs in May. The butterflies that arrive in Iowa are generally the 3rd to 5th generation following the one that migrated south the previous fall.108

Monarch female (without pouches). Her scent glands are found on her abdomen.

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Monarch ventral view is duller orange.

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The famous striped monarch caterpillar dining on a milkweed leaf.

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Monarchs arent fussy about the milkweed their caterpillars choose to chew on, like this swamp milkweed here, but they only eat the various milkweed species.

Monarchs arent fussy about the milkweed their caterpillars choose to chew on, like this swamp milkweed here, but they only eat the various milkweed species.

Do you know some of the other kinds of milkweed in our area?

Common, swamp, butterfly, poke, whorled, etc.112

Monarchs make their pale green chrysalis on a nearby plant, in this case a grass stem.

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Monarchs key in on blazing stars as a nectar source in the fall as they migrate south.

Asters and other prairie plants will fall flowers are crucial for migrating monarchs. After producing a couple of broods the monarchs gather up and migrate in September. 114

Monarch migration roost

Monarch migration roost.They winter in Mexico, up in the mountains.

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Monarch wearing a tag which helps track their movements as they work their way south.

Tags are available from groups like Monarch Watch.116

Viceroy a monarch mimic. Note the black line on the hind wing.

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Monarch for comparison. Note the lack of black bands cutting through the hind wings on this female, nectaring here on an aster flower in the fall.

Both monarchs and viceroys contain defensive compounds that make birds ill when they eat these butterflies.

Adults tend to reach peak abundance in August, just before monarch migration.118

Viceroy ventral view

Viceroy ventral view

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Viceroy caterpillars look like bird droppings.

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Viceroy caterpillars could be found around this bright willow bat, since they eat willow leaves in wetlands. areas.

They will also eat aspens.121

Orange sulphur male is orangishAlso note the wide black wing borders

One of our most abundant butterflies.122

Orange sulphur male ventral view.

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Orange sulpher

Orange sulphur classic female form shows light speckles breaking up that black backlit border

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Orange sulphur caterpillar blends right into green leaves

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Orange sulphurs are known as alfalfa butterflies, as thats where their eggs are laid and the caterpillars feed.

One of our most common butterflies.

Orange sulphurs are known as alfalfa butterflies, as thats where their eggs are laid and the caterpillars feed. One of our most common butterflies.

They will also feed on vetch and other legumes.126

Clouded sulphur male is more yellow

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Clouded sulphur this white, or abinic, female form shows a silver hindwing spot that tells us its not a cabbage white butterfly.

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Clouded sulphur caterpillar crawling on sensitive plant

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Clouded sulphur caterpillars eat sensitive plant leaves.

Again, they feed on a variety of legumes, but their favorite is clover. When clover and alfalfa are adjacent to each other clouded and orange sulphur butterflies may breed with each other.130

Sulphur butterflies congregate along roadsides in late summer, especially beside puddles after a rain.

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Cabbage white no ring on hindwing. Cabbage whites can be found flying around from April to October.

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Cabbage whites may be the most common butterflies we see around the yard, and especially the garden.

They are one of our few non-native butterflies. They spread from coast to coast between 1860 and 1890. 133

Where to find the cabbage white

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Not what you want to see on your cabbage plants.

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Cabbage white caterpillars arent fussy, feasting as well on plants in the mustard family.

Any member of the brassica family is fair game. 136

Butterflies love native flowers like showy coneflower.

Grow as many different kinds as you can around the garden or out in the back yard.

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Least skippers on swamp milkweed. Plant the pretty flowers and the butterflies will come.

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