Last week I suggested a few sources for native plants. This week, I’m going to share some resources so you can learn more about native plants, which are the best for this area, and how to plant them – do they need sun? shade? clay soil or wet soil? What about planting across the seasons – having something that blooms in the Spring for early pollinators, and into late Fall for the butterflies still making their way? Here are books and websites that will help you cultivate a pollinator pathway!
Our 2021 One Book, One City reads are all about Monarch butterflies, tracing their travels, and learning about the importance of their journey. Monarchs are amazingly beautiful, but are just one of many pollinators that are threatened by decreasing habitat and climate change. If you remember one thing, remember that pollinators support our food crops – and finding ways to decrease habitat destruction or build new habitat will provide sustenance to future generations.
Native plants and their varying cultivars have evolved together with pollinators, and so have ideal flower sizes and shapes to support the many pollinators we need. And because they’re from Ohio, they’re easy to grow – no picky plants in the bunch! Here at Rocky River Public Library, with the help of the Beach Cliff Garden Club and library volunteers, we put in a pollinator garden that is officially certified by Monarch Watch. We’ve called our garden “Monarch Trails & Tales” and it includes milkweed for Monarchs, their only food, as well as numerous native perennials. Take a look at it the next time to visit and see what kinds of pollinators you spot – there’s butterflies and bees of course, but also small flies that are essential to pollination!
Lots of local nurseries sell native plants, and the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District sell native plants in groups of 50 for a reasonable cost. If we all sacrifice a little lawn or even plant containers of native plants, we can grow and nurture our pollinator population, creating pollinator pathways and beautiful gardens at the same time.
Bicycling with Butterflies: My 10,201-Mile Journey Following the Monarch Migration
It’s summer, so hopefully there is more time to relax and read. The Rocky River Public Library invites adults and teens to read Bicycling with Butterflies by Sara Dykman as part of our “Tails and Tales” summer reading program.
In addition to reading the book, it’s a chance to do a little research on monarch butterflies using the library’s databases. They are available at https://rrpl.org/research-tools/ under “Newspapers & Magazines”. I heartily recommend the “National Geographic” index which offers full-text articles from 1888-1994. Another excellent source is EBSCOhost. (Some of National Geographic is also included in EBSCOhost.) In that source patrons have access to hundreds of full-text magazines. You can limit your search to articles with full color photographs. You can limit your search to “cover story” articles.
It’s my suggestion to check out the databases before beginning the adventure shared in Bicycling with Butterflies.