Can I be a Habitat Hero?

Western Tiger Swallowtail

The other day I was browsing my favorite plant catalog, High Country Gardens and read they have collaborated with Audobon Rockies and Plant Select to participate in the Habitat Hero project aiming to restore bird habitat and promote wildscaping.

Birdwatcher Garden

Lauren Springer Ogden created a pre-planned garden that provides food for birds.  While this garden has 15 plants and covers 87 square feet.  The garden comes with 15 plants including: 1 each of Agastache rupestrisHelianthus maximiliana Dakota SunshineHesperaloe parvifloraLavandula angustifolia Munstead VioletNepeta faassenii Select BluePenstemon mexicali Red RocksPenstemon pinifolius CompactumSalvia Ultra VioletZauschneria garrettii Orange CarpetSchizachyrium scoparium Los Lunas Blues,Sporobolus wrightii WindbreakerChrysothamnus Yellow Twig(substitute for Prunus besseyi Pawnee Buttes) Ribes aureum, and 2 each of Bouteloua gracilis Blonde Ambition. I am considering buying one of these gardens, but would also think it important to provide native species for species needing specific host plants.  So I began investigating what flowers support pollinators specifically in Colorado.

I am wondering if  local open space parks would welcome a bird or pollinator friendly garden in some section.  I have contacted Gabrielle with Foothills Parks and Rec district to determine how one would go about creating a garden in our open space parks.   But to take on such a project I will need to do some evaluation of my own.

To test creating a pollinator’s garden, I’m investigating the following the Native Colorado Seed Mix to see how they work in irrigated vs non-irrigated areas to determine the rate at which it propagates and what kind of  upkeep it will require.   If the goal is to add to green spaces for naturalizing, then none should require additional watering.  Another to consider is the Bird and Butterfly mix.  Some of the shorter plants may also go well in a knot garden I am starting to plan.

Learning about Pollinator and Bird Habitat Garden

There is an upcoming workshop to learn about wildscaping.

Denver, COMarch 29, 2014: 10 a.m. – noon, South High School Auditorium. Free registration; call Merry Weiss, 303-628-6023, for information. Sponsored by Denver Water.

Online Guides

To have a healthy population of bees, butterflies and moths you need plants that not only provide nectar but also food for the caterpillar stage.   Plants that provide this nutrition are called host plants.

A Painted Lady on Echinacea. Photo by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

Butterflies

If butterflies are what you want to attract, CSU has provided a general list of butterfly host plants for some of the more popular species in Colorado.  These include plants from the mustard family Brassicaceae like cruciferous plants (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard) as well as plants known for their flowers (Iberius, Lobularia, Erysimum), as well as vetch, hollyhocks, sunflowers, and violets.

To search for butterflies in your area and the host plants they feed on see:
Butterflies and Moths of North America

For pollinators in general you can also view http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm which will give you detailed species for pollinators including bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and moths.

There are also volunteer opportunities to determining Colorado’s butterfly population through the Butterfly Pavillion.  – http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp1609727.jsp

 

Creating a pollinator garden

My home is in a pollinator habitat called the 311 Rocky Mountain Steppe.

For my garden,  I have chosen to use seed to test the most plants in an economical manner.

 

Western Tiger Swallowtail

The seeds listed below are from two different seed mixtures at seedland.com.

Bird & Butterfly Mix

Native Colorado Mix

Since each of these mixes are sold only in 1 pound increments and above, I am looking at single varieties within the mixes to review.

 

Common
Name
*Type Scientific
Name
Color Season CO Native Mix Pollinator
Blue
Columbine
P Aquilegia
caerulea
Blue/White L Spr Y Native Colorado hawkmoths hummingbirds
Milkweed,
Showy
P Asclepias
speciosa
Pink Sum Bird
& Butterfly
butterfly
China Aster A Callistephus
chinensis
Blue L Sum Bird
& Butterfly
butterfly
Cornflower,
Dwarf
A Centaurea
cyanus
Blue Sum Bird
& Butterfly
bees
Wallflower,
Siberian
B/P Cheiranthus
allionii
Orange L
Spr
Bird
& Butterfly
butterfly
Godetia, Dwarf A Clarkia
amoena
Pink Sum Bird
& Butterfly
Coreopsis,
Lance-Leaved
P Coreopsis
lanceolata
Yellow Sum Bird
& Butterfly
butterfly, birds
Plains
Coreopsis
A Coreopsis
tinctoria
Yellow-Maroon L
Sum
Y Native Colorado bees
Coreopsis,
Dwarf Plains
A Coreopsis
tinctoria
Maroon-Yellow L
Sum
Y Bird
& Butterfly
bees
Larkspur,
Rocket
A Delphinium
ajacis
Pink
/ Blue
Sum Bird
& Butterfly
butterfly
Purple
Coneflower  (narrow)
P Echinacea
augustifolia
Violet Sum Y Native Colorado butterfly, birds
Coneflower,
Purple
P Echinacea
purpurea
Violet Sum Bird
& Butterfly
butterfly, birds
Fleabane Daisy P Erigoran
speciosus
Violet Sum Y Native Colorado bees
Poppy,
California
TP Eschscholzia
californica
Orange Sum Bird
& Butterfly
bees
Gaillardia,
Perennial
P Gaillardia
aristata
Yellow-Red Sum Bird
& Butterfly
moths
Perennial
Gaillardia
P Gaillardia
aristata
Yellow-Red Sum Y Native Colorado moths
Annual
Gaillardia
A Gaillardia
pulchella
Yellow-Red Sum Y Native Colorado moths
Gaillardia,
Annual
A Gaillardia
pulchella
Maroon-Yellow Sum Y Bird
& Butterfly
moths
Candytuft,
Annual
A Iberis
umbellata
Pink
/ White
Sum Bird
& Butterfly
bees, butterfly
Wild Blue Iris P Iris
missouriensis
Purple Spr Y Native Colorado bees
Dotted
Gayfeather
P Liatris
punctata
Purple L
Sum
Y Native Colorado bees
Gayfeather P Liatris
spicata
Purple L
Sum
Bird
& Butterfly
bees
Blue Flax
(Lewis)
P Linum
perenne lewisii
Blue L
Spr
Y Native Colorado bees, butterfly
Alyssum,
Sweet
TP Lobularia
maritima
White E
Sum
Bird
& Butterfly
butterfly
Mountain
Lupine
P Lupinus
alpestris
Blue Sum Y Native Colorado butterfly
Lupine,
Perennial
P Lupinus
perennis
Blue L
Spr
Bird
& Butterfly
butterfly. bees
Prairie Aster B Machaeranthera
tanacetifolia
Violet Sum Y Native Colorado butterfly, bees
Mint, Lemon A Monarda
citriodora
Lavender-Pink E
Sum
Bird
& Butterfly
hummingbirds
Narrow-leaved
Beardtongue
P Penstemon
angustifolius
Pink-Violet E
Sum
Y Native Colorado bees
Rocky Mountain
Penstemon
P Penstemon
strictus
Purple Sum Y Native Colorado hummingbirds, bees
Yellow
Coneflower
B/P Ratibida
columnifera
Yellow Sum Y Native Colorado bees
Coneflower,
Dwarf Red
B/P Ratibida
columnifera
Red L
Sum
Bird
& Butterfly
bees
Black-Eyed
Susan
A/B/P Rudbeckia
hirta
Yellow Sum Y Bird
& Butterfly
butterfly, bees
Black-Eyed
Susan
A/B/P Rudbeckia
hirta
Yellow Sum Y Native Colorado butterfly, bees
Sage,Scarlet A/P Salvia
coccinea
Red Sum Bird
& Butterfly
butterfly, humming
Greenthread A Thelesperma
filifolium
Yellow Sum Y Native Colorado
Showy
Goldeneye
P Viguiera
multiflora
Yellow Sum Y Native Colorado

Seeds Available for single plant types

Gaillardia

http://www.jungseed.com/dp.asp?pID=08787&c=20&p=Arizona+Apricot+Gaillardia+Seed = moths

http://www.jungseed.com/dp.asp?pID=08779&c=20&p=Arizona+Sun+Gaillardia+Seed

 

Botanical Common  Color Height Flower Season Sun Soil Visitation by PollinatorHost Plant

Gaillardia aristata common gaillardia yellow/orange 2’ spring full sun moist moths Yes

 

Penstemon Strictus

http://www.highcountrygardens.com/perennial-plants/penstemon/penstemon-strictus = bees hummingbirds late spring

http://parkseed.com/rocky-mountain-penstemon-flower-seeds/p/01716-PK-P1/

Penstemon strictusRocky Mountain penstemon blue 2’ late spring full sun moist bees, hummingbirds Yes

 

Orange Butterfly Plant

http://www.jungseed.com/dp.asp?pID=08467&c=20&p=Orange+Butterfly+Plant+Seed =

 

Seeds Purchased

Park Seed

  1. 01716-PK-P1   Rocky Mountain Penstemon Seeds
  2. 51460-PK-P1 Bergamo Monarda Bee Balm Seeds
  3. 00772-PK-P1 Dill Seeds
  4. 01124-PK-P1 Sunrise Lupine Flower Seeds
  5. 01022-PK-P1 Peaches ‘n’ Dreams Hollyhock Seeds

 

To Purchase

Rudbeckia Herta

Linum lewisii

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.

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