We really do live in paradise…I’m at my home office desk. At my right is a big window with a mass of blooming yellow lantana and red and pink salvia. I look over and check out the Queen and Zebra butterflies having a snack on the blooms. Of course, you too can have lantana and salvia and butterflies in your yard very easily. Let me give you the web address for native plant nurseries where you can buy pollinator plants: PlantRealFlorida.org. This is the website of the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. You put in your zip code and you get a list of local nurseries.
It’s only the native nurseries that carry pollinator plants. It’s so easy!!!! Buy a couple of firebushes, porterweed, lantana, some salvia, pentas and milkweed water them until they get established and ENJOY! These guys bloom all year round and they are not only beautiful—you get pollinators! Personally, I am very partial to butterfly ballets! And remember when you have caterpillars you have food for raising a nest of chicks since 96% of land birds feed their chicks insects. It’s really a triple—beautiful no care flowers, butterflies and birds…. Speaking of birds—if you have room add a Beauty Berry bush. Birds love their purple fruit. Remember you can google all these plants I mention to see what they look like.
Coral Gables Library Butterfly Garden
Behind the lantana and salvia, I have just planted 15 milkweed seedlings. Many moons ago I spear headed a butterfly garden at the Coral Gables Library. So, I get this email from the Garden club—a neighbor has milkweed seedlings does anyone want some?
When I get over there, the guy says, “I grew them from a seed pod I picked up at the Coral Gables Library Butterfly Garden.” Is that way cooool or what! Milkweeds are the only plant Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on.
Want To Have Your Own Butterfly / Pollinator Garden?
A richly planted garden can be a lifeline for pollinators threatened by habitat loss, pesticides and climate change. AND, boy is it beautiful with all the flowers and butterflies!!
New York City Bans Toxic Pesticides in Landscape
“Seven years ago, a kindergarten teacher in Manhattan was following her students curiosity about the origins of food when she led then in role play on how toxic pesticides harm people, ecosystems and even—to the 5-year-olds’ horror turtles like their class pet, Soccer Ball. So, they decided on a goal: to ban pesticides in the city’s parks, playgrounds and open spaces. And they came up with a chant: “Ban toxic pesticides! Use only nature’s pesticides! Pass.A.Law.” Well, the maturing students and their grown-up allies have shouted their demand on playgrounds, at City Hall and in the City Council chambers. This April their wish came true—New York became the nation’s largest city to ban toxic pesticides and push its parks to control weeds, insects and vermin with nature-based techniques of organic gardening. (NYTimes, 4/25)
Is that a great story or what? It seems to me that all too often all we hear is the bad news so here is some more good news…
Trees That Feed
In 2008, three people founded the “Trees that Feed Foundation” with the mission to plant fruit trees in developing countries to feed people, create jobs, and benefit the environment. They are now in 18 countries and have planted over 210,000 fruit trees worldwide. They have also come up with solar dehydrators and other food processing equipment which they donate along with the trees. In 13 years, they have donated 25 sets of food processing equipment, 20 tons of breadfruit flour, 500,000 locally produced meals, thousands of educational coloring books, and, of course, planted all those trees.
Guess what the founder, Mary McLaughlin, who was born in Jamaica has to say? “You know when you hear the news of the day, it’s easy to think about crime and disease and all kinds of problems in the world. Through our work, we have discovered that there are good people, wonderful people. Most people are good at heart, willing and trying to help. Think of the good that each of us can accomplish.” (The Gleaner, 10/20/20)
So, What Can You Accomplish?
Trust me, you can start small, every little bit helps…like DITCHING that weed and feed lawn care product! What do you think the weed part consists of except pesticides? And maybe a corner of your yard could be a pollinator habitat? And those cleaning products? Why not think about using what the people who maintain stately homes in England use–vinegar, baking soda, hot water, lemon juice. The owner of Luxury Cleaning NY prefers vinegar and lemon to wipe down countertops.