Buttonbush a Midsummer Favorite

Growing in the Hudson Highland wetlands, the buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is at home alongside tussock grasses with roots growing in spongy sphagnum moss.   It thrives in full to partial sun alongside high bush blueberry and sweet azalea.   Black gum, red maple and mountain laurel find their niche on the slightly drier edges before the forest transitions into a drier oak forest.  This edge habitat … Continue reading Buttonbush a Midsummer Favorite

Osmia: Powerhouse Pollinators

The blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria) is a fast efficient native pollinator of early spring flowers. In the apple orchard 250 to 300 of these powerhouse pollinators can do the equivalent work of 90,000 (two hives) honey bees.  Part of this success is due to their ability to visit more flowers per minute and to transfer pollen more effectively.  It is also helpful that some … Continue reading Osmia: Powerhouse Pollinators

Pussytoes: An Inconspicuous Little Plant

Ladies’ tabacco, Plantain-leaved everlasting, Plantain-leaved pussytoes, Pussytoes are common names for Antennaria plantaginifolia, an inconspicuous little plant in the Aster family.  It thrives in full sun and is perfectly suited for poor dry rocky soils.  Paddle shaped leaves are reminiscent of the common plantain (Plantago major) except they are hairy  leaves with three to five parallel veins.  The flower itself stands no higher than 6” … Continue reading Pussytoes: An Inconspicuous Little Plant

The Pollinators of Stony Kill Farm

Suzanne, Elizabeth and Wilhelmina burst out of the manor house into the wide open spaces of Stony Kill Farm. The three sisters ran down the farm lane with intentions to play hide and seek in the barn but suddenly they spot an yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly fluttering in the hayfields. They look at each other and in silent accord jump with leap and bounds through … Continue reading The Pollinators of Stony Kill Farm

The Serviceberry: A Sign Post of Spring

Winter in the North is long and cold forcing the frost to penetrate deep, freezing the ground solid as a rock. The serviceberry, a small flower bearing tree, signals the ground has thawed, a sign post to people it was time to bury their loved ones that had died the previous winter. Funeral services commenced with springs advent and the tree was aptly named the … Continue reading The Serviceberry: A Sign Post of Spring

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bees

…From Bee Expert Tim Stanley  (An Student Conservation Association, SCA, Interview), 2016 When residents of New York’s Hudson Valley want to know something about bees, Tim Stanley is thier go-to-guy.  He’s a beekeeper, and a veritable expert on the region’s wild bees (which, as you’ll learn, differ substantiallly from the bees we raise for honey). We recently interviewed him in an attempt to find out … Continue reading Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bees

Squash Bees and Mastodon’s

Take a look deep into the yellow squash flowers and there is a good chance the stripped abdomens of squash bees (Peponapis pruinosa) will be pointing skyward, with heads buried and long tongues extended, they partake from the squashes nectar wells. These fuzzy yellow honey bee sized insects have formed a time tested relationship with plants from the squash (Cucurbita) family. Squash flowers invite other … Continue reading Squash Bees and Mastodon’s

The Revolutionary Pollinator Garden

When Europeans first sailed across the ocean they started a revolution that would change the botanical nature of North America. In their cargo holds colonists brought seeds from a pharmaceutical cornucopia of plants that would mend and heal and over time many of these plants escaped from the domestic gardens into the wild. Some of these powerful medicinals, such as dandelion and plantain, would become … Continue reading The Revolutionary Pollinator Garden

Pollinators are Celebrating at College Hill Park

Pollinators are celebrating at a revitalized garden at College Hill Park in Poughkeepsie, NY. The park is situated in the center of an urban landscape and on top the highest point in the city a most curious Parthenon like structure, known at the “Shelter”, stands with grand views of the Hudson Valley. Down the hill from this structure built in 1935 is the Clarence Lown … Continue reading Pollinators are Celebrating at College Hill Park