During our Celebration a Zebra Swallowtail butterfly eclosed from its chrysalis. The Zebra Swallowtail is one of many species I must admit I never knew existed until a few years ago when I began my pursuit of learning more about the ecosystem surrounding me. And now I am a big fan of all our native flora and fauna!
While I believe events such as Butterflies and Bees Celebration truly makes a difference in educating the public about native species and giving people the opportunity to start making pollinator-friendly changes to their gardens, sometimes I cannot help but feel we have a very long way to go.
If you've ever wondered why native plants, shrubs, and trees are so important, you can conduct a very simple experiment. Spend a few moments watching a plant that can be easily purchased at a garden center or big box store. Plants such as Impatiens, Pansies, or Mums. What pollinators do you see on the flowers? Do you see any? Then spend the same amount of time watching native flowers. Purple Cone Flowers, Purple Poppy Mallow, Slender Mountain Mint, Butterfly Milkweed. What pollinators do you
see on those flowers? My guess is you will find many more bees and butterflies buzzing about the Purple Coneflower than you ever will on a purple Mum.
I never knew how many different species of bees existed until I planted my very first native plants. That was 8 years ago, and I've enjoyed watching the pollinators swarm the blossoms ever since. I hope you will take the time to plant even one native plant, shrub, or tree in your garden. Then sit back and enjoy the show!