13 March 2014

Pollinators of Native Plants, by Heather Holm

Pollinators of Native Plants by Heather Holm

I'll let you in on a couple of secrets. One of my greatest pleasures in life is to sit in my backyard with a drink or a coffee in dappled light and simply watch my plants be pollinated. Each time a bee meets the bloom I feel a sense of relief and satisfaction that something is still right with the world.

The fact is though, I don't know my pollinators.  Ok, I can ID common butterflies, catch the odd leaf-cutter bee (which kind I don't know, there are several) making half-moons on my leaves, and the "big-fuzzies" always get my attention, but no, I really don't know who these insects are at all. I have one beneficial pollinator mini-guide for Toronto (view it for free here) and an over-my-head encyclopedic book about insects (which one of its' major contributors assures me is really about southern Ontario insects), but there's a big gap in between them that needs to be filled. I'm betting this book will suit that task.

To get a look at what you're in store for see the book's home page including its preview pages.  And, whether interested in the book or not, seriously do check out her blog -- wow!

My copy  just arrived a couple of days ago and I can say that it is beginner to intermediate level. Its range is upper midwest states and provinces (Holm, now based in Minnesota is a U of Guelph graduate). It is so well delivered as a guide, you can just pick it up and instantly use it intuitively. It ably shows you how to attract, plant for and identify pollinators of common native plants. There are pages of native plant pics and descriptions organized by habitat -- prairie, woodland edge, for example -- and in this way you can use this as a native planting guide for what-to-plant-where according to your yard or site, and it shows LOTS of pics along side descriptions of which pollinators use each plant.

It has good reviews, for example Carole Sevilla Brown at Ecosystem Gardening writes "Heather Holm has two passions: native plants and their pollinators, and she’s combined these two loves into an incredibly informative and useful book that will help you choose the best plants for your wildlife garden to attract an abundance of native pollinators. She has effectively given us a botanical reference to native plants in conjunction with an entomological reference to native pollinators in one complete volume. ..."

If you're interested, you can order it online for $32.50 including tax and shipping to Ontario.

Wish me luck in my insect ID'ing. But you know what? Even if I can't learn the name for each pollinator, when the beneficial ones meet the buffets we've planted for them, things are alright.


K.F. said...

This looks like a great resource! I'm working at a conservation area in Ottawa and we'd love to find someone who could talk about the ecological links between flora and fauna - if you know of anyone in the Eastern Ontario area - would love to hear about them!

petrie dot coordinator at gmail dot com

native plant girl said...

Hi K.F. :)

unfortunately I don't know anyone specifically in the Ottawa area, but if you haven't already tried, check out Fletcher Wildlife Garden (a project of the Ottawa Field Naturalists)
Tel 613-234-6767

I especially like Christine Hanrahan's posts: http://fletcherwildlifegarden.wordpress.com/author/nessa65/

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