Buttery and Pollinator Gardens Presentation at WREC Horticulture Field Day Tour July 13

NDSU Extension Horticulturist, Dr. Ester McGinnis, will be presenting information on butterfly and pollinator gardens via Zoom starting at 4 p.m. CT at the WREC Horticulture Field Day Tour.

Dr. McGinnis will discuss bee population, relevant species of flowers, and how to plant and maintain a bee lawn while still maintaining lawns that meet community standards.

She said, "The bee populations are decreasing nationally. One of the contributing factors is the lack of flowers to provide nectar and pollen for the bees. NDSU Extension is promoting the planting of small bee lawns to provide nutritious forage for bees."

Dr. McGinnis hopes that people will learn how to plant more bee friendly gardens.

"People have psychological barriers to planting pollinator habitat because they are afraid of bees. I find that people frequently confuse bees and those pesky yellow jackets. Our bee pollinators are much less aggressive than the yellow jackets that are attracted to our soft drinks and food in late summer."

Dr. McGinnis is the director of the NDSU Extension Master Gardener Program. She received both her M.S. and Ph.D. in applied plant sciences at the University of Minnesota. Her research areas include evaluation of native plants, pollinator plants, and rain garden plants.

She says having a healthy bee population is very important for producers that grow vegetables and fruits. "Many horticultural crops require or greatly benefit from bee pollination."

Examples include apples, cucumbers, and tomatoes. In addition, North Dakota is the national leader in honey production. Bee health is very important for our region.

 The main mission of her project is to educate as many people as possible about pollinator decline and what individuals can do to make a difference.

"Different aspects of our project include promoting milkweed habitat for monarch butterflies, evaluating the best bee lawn mixes for our region, and recommending pollinator-friendly plants for ornamental gardens."


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