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Dear Fellow Gardeners
 What's Growing On...




Perfect Pollinator Plants

Attracting pollinators to your garden can bring big benefits. Pollinators are responsible for assisting more than 80% of the world's flowering plants to reproduce. Without pollinators, people and wildlife would have very little to eat or look at!  Pollinators include animals that assist plants with their reproduction.  Water and wind also play a role in the pollination of many of our plants.  Honey bees and native bees pollinate crops such as apples, cucumbers, soybeans, squash and asparagus.  Domestic honey bees pollinate approximately $10 billion worth of crops in the United States each year.  Other pollinators include butterflies.  Gardeners have been attracting butterflies to their gardens for some time.  These insects are usually eye-catching, and so are the flowers that attract them.  Moths are another insect in the pollinator family.  Moths are attracted to flowers that are strongly sweet smelling, open in late afternoon or night, and are usually white or pale colored.  Flies are hard to imagine that one would want to attract these insects to the garden.  The fact that flies are generalist pollinators (they visit many species of plants) should encourage all of us to let them do their job as pollinators.  Birds such as hummingbirds are the primary birds which play a role in pollination here in North America.  Pollen is carried both on the beaks and feathers of various hummingbird species.  Bright colored, tubular flowers attract hummingbirds to gardens.  Fun fact:  Hummingbirds can see the color red but bees can not. Here is a list of pollinator friendly plants and additional information on pollinators. Incorporating native wildflowers, shrubs and trees into any landscape promotes local biological diversity and provides food and shelter for many different types of wildlife.

 Pick of the Week...
Saxifraga Strawberry Begonia  

Houseplant Highlight:  Saxifraga Strawberry Begonia

These are really eye-catching plants.  Saxifraga plant is known by serveral common names, including strawberry begonia or strawberry geranium.  It is neither.  They do have the basic leaf structure of a begonia, green on the upper side with silver/gray veins and are a reddish color on the underside.  As they mature, the plants send out thin, long runners with a cluster of leaves at the end.  When the plant is hanging over a window sill or ledge, it will form a very interesting display of reddish leaves with tiny little hairs on them.  It spreads via threadlike stolon (the runners) with the baby plants taking root in the vicinity of the mother plant.  Gently push plantlets into the soil, either in the same pot as the mother plant or in a nearby smaller pot, and wait a few weeks.  The plantlets quickly develop roots of their own and once they have, you can pinch the runner to the mother plant and now have another plant ready to grow. The runners will multiply over time and it is easy to take cuttings to start new plants or pass them along to your gardener friends.  Saxifraga prefer to be repotted faithfully every spring,  they really don't like to be pot-bound and will not look their best.  Overall, these are easy plants to grow and are very rewarding.


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