Planning Your Landscape for Pollinators and Other Creatures

The book, Noah’s Garden, has been checked out. Take a look at the other books we offer and the list of recommentations available at the Richmond Public Library.

Good Reads for the Watershed

As the leaves fall and the last of the flowers are making seed many of us start planning next years garden in our minds. What shall we keep? What should be removed? Are there plants I could add that would benefit pollinators and others? These are very good questions and now is the perfect time to start planning! With that in mind, consider checking out this book from our lending library. (Please note that some plant species mentioned in the book may not be native to our area.)

Published to rave reviews in 1993, Noah’s Garden shows us how our landscape style of neat yards and gardens has devastated suburban ecology, wiping out entire communities of plants and animals by stripping bare their habitats and destroying their food supplies. When Stein realized what her intensive efforts at making a traditional garden had done, she set out to “ungarden.” Her book interweaves an account of her efforts with an explanation of the ecology of gardens. Noah’s Garden has become the bible of the new environmental gardening movement, and the author is one of its most popular spokespersons.

To borrow a book from Reedy Creek coalition simply enter the name of the book at this link.  https://reedycreekcoalition.org/contact-us/ 

 Please allow a day or two for a response which will come to your e-mail. 

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Help Protect Crooked Branch Ravine Park

Please join us for as we work to return this little park to a more natural state by removing English ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, privet and other non-native invasive plants.  We will also cut the ivy at the base of trees. Birds eat the fruit and spead the seed for these plants, so this will also prevent the spread of these plants to parks and perhaps even your yard.

We would really appreciate your help.

Saturday morning, November 20 from 10:00 – 12:00

  • If you can only stay an hour, that’s OK. Every hour counts.
  • Bring gloves, hand clippers, loppers & a small saw if you can.    An old screwdriver is sometimes helpful for prying vines away from the tree so they are easier to cut.
  • Bring your own water bottle.
  • We will meet in the cul de sac at the end of Northrop Street.

Map to meeting site

drawing, robin

The Gift

Reedy Creek Coalition would like to share this book with our community. Yes, it’s a picture book, but we think it is appropriate for people of all ages and a wonderful opportunity for families to read together. Even better, the author and illustrator live right here in Richmond.

To borrow a book from Reedy Creek coalition simply enter the name of the book at this link.  https://reedycreekcoalition.org/contact-us/ 

Please allow a day or two for a response which will come to your e-mail. Visit our website for a list of other books we have in our lending library.

Introducing: Good Reads for the Watershed

Reedy Creek Coalition now has a small collection of books to share with you. Of the many excellent books about environmental care these are some of our favorites. Some are practical, others inspirational, a few specifically about watersheds. All provide information that could lead us to better care for our community. The majority of the books we offer are not available at the public library either because they not available from the vendors the library uses or are out of print.

This is how it works…

  • Request a book using the link below.
  • You will receive an e-mail that will include where to pick up the book.
  • Return the book when you are done, preferably within 3 weeks.

The link below also has a list of books available from the Richmond Public Library that we recommend.

GOOD READS FOR THE WATERSHED

Help Protect Crooked Branch Ravine Park

Please join us for as we work to return this little park to a more natural state by removing English ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, privet and other non-native invasive plants.  We will also cut the ivy at the base of trees. Birds eat the fruit and spead the seed for these plants, so this will also prevent the spread of these plants to parks and perhaps even your yard.

  • Sunday,  October 24 from 1 – 3 p.m.
  • If you can only stay an hour, that’s OK. Every hour counts.
  • Bring gloves, hand clippers, loppers & a small saw if you can.    An old screwdriver is sometimes helpful for prying vines away from the tree so they are easier to cut.
  • Bring your own water bottle.
  • We will meet in the cul de sac at the end of Northrop Street.

Map to meeting site

drawing, robin

Natures’ Best Hope

Native plants, especially trees and woody shrubs,  are the best way to reduce storm water runoff and therefore improve water quality.  That is why reducing lawn to make room for these plants as well as perennials is so important.  So why does our organization suggest using native plants?

That question is answered best by watching Natures’ Best Hope, a presentation by Dr. Doug Tallamy available on YouTube,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY4aV5hqkxY.  We recommend this for adults and older children; some young children might enjoy the images of insects.  Make it a movie night for the family. 

Dr. Tallamy’s book by the same name is highly recommended.  The Virginia Native Plant Society has this to say about his book by the same name:

“Tallamy’s explanations of the specialized relationships among plants, insects, and animals are fascinating stories, but also foundational building blocks for understanding the natural world we live in, whether we live in the city, the country, or anywhere between.”  

If you watch the presentation you may enter a drawing to win a native plant. The presentation itself lasts for about an hour and that is all you need to watch to enter the drawing.  The remainder of the video (Q&A and other things) is optional.  

Two native plant species, spicebush (Lindera bezoin) and ironwood (Carpinus caroliniana) , have been donated by Reedy Creek Environmental, a local native plant nursery.  These plants are local ecotype and have been propagated from seed collected in James River Park under a strict permit.  

After watching the presentation, e-mail reedycreekcoalition@gmail.com to enter the drawing.  Please indicate the species you prefer in the subject line.  Drawing will be on February 14th because we love native plants!

The Rusty Patched Bumblebee

One of our previous posts about bees featured a wonderful video, A Ghost in the Making ,about this bee and now there is an article in the Virginia Mercury.

Virginia’s vanishing bee: State works to save rusty patched bumblebee

It’s not certain what has caused the dramatice decline our native rusty patched bumblebee and many other creatures, but we do know that human activity is the primary cause.  The plants we choose and the products we use in our yards make a big difference to the other creatures we share our world with.  If you have not yet seen the previous posts about bees please take a look now.

Let’s make our watershed a great place to live.

 

Providing Housing for our Native Bees

Bees and all other critters need the same things we do:  food, housing for the family, and a safe place to live. Urban landscapes are often missing housing, a critical component.  You may be surprised at where some of them raise their young!  Please view this short video with beautiful images of a few native bees and the information on nesting resources.

You can help ensure diversity here in our own neighborhood by providing housing for native bees.  Many of our bees are solitary and need hollow plant stems or dead wood; some need only  a small patch of bare ground.  Most of our urban landscapes do not provide housing for native bees, but they should and it is easy to do.  Please note that ground nesting bees should not be feared since they are docile and solitary.  Please do not think of them as you do a swarm of aggressive yellow jackets.  Ground nesting bees usually build nests in the spring.  Click the image for more information. 

Mining Bee Nest

Did you know that it is possible to do harm by providing a bee house?  If not properly designed and maintained, bee houses can spread disease or make the larvae more accessible to predators.  If properly designed and cared for, bee houses can be beneficial and they provide an opportunity to observe bees.   Please read this before deciding to provide a nest box.

Want to learn more about our native bees?  We are offering a hardcopy of this booklet about our native bees to five people who live in or near the Reedy Creek Watershed and have read the Nesting Resources link and viewed the video. Names will be drawn on May 16 . Use our contact form to get your name in the hat.  Comment BOOKLET.  (The booklet is also availabe for download if you prefer.)

This post is dedicated to the memory of our friend and one of the founders of Reedy Creek Coalition, Robin Ruth. Her dying wish was “save the bees”, but we think she meant much more than that. Bees were just her project at the time. Robin cared deeply for the natural world from the soil teeming with life to the tops of the trees and every living thing between. We plan a series of posts with information about bees, birds, butterflies and perhaps other critters that need our help.

WHAT DO BEES NEED?

Bees and all other critters need the same things we do:  food, housing for the family, and a safe place to live.  Bees require nectar for themselves, pollen for their offspring.  Providing food is one of the best things we can do.  Here are our suggestions for BEE friendly yards and neighborhoods.

  • Please plant native species.  (Avoid cultivars.  Some do not produce as much pollen or nectar as the native species;  others limit access to food due to changes in petal arrangement or shape of the flower. )
  • Provide a variety of species that will bloom at different times.
  • Plant in groups of the same species.  A group of plants will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered through the garden.
  • If you have limited space, work with your neighbors to create pollinator habitat with a variety of species on your block.
  • Learn about how plants containing a group of pesticides known as Neonicotinoids will harm bees and other pollinators.

Pollinator Plants for the Mid Atlantic *

*Not all plants on this list are native to our area. An example is the purple coneflower.  Digital Atlas of Virginia Flora  is a good reference for those who want to use plants specific for Central Virginia.  Refer to the map for each species.

Neonicotinoides

We would like to help support your efforts to feed the bees by offering a clump of Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant) to five people who live in or near the Reedy Creek Watershed and have read the two links above. Names will be drawn on May 9. Use our contact form to get your name in the hat.  Comment OBEDIENT PLANT.

This post is dedicated to the memory of our friend and one of the founders of Reedy Creek Coalition, Robin Ruth. Her dying wish was “save the bees”, but we think she meant much more than that. Bees were just her project at the time. Robin cared deeply for the natural world from the soil teeming with life to the tops of the trees and every living thing between. We plan a series of posts with information about bees, birds, butterflies and perhaps other critters that need our help.

A GHOST IN THE MAKING

This video, A Ghost in the Making, is about a bumble bee that was once common and is now nearly extinct. That decline has occurred right here in Virginia.

What we do in our yards is now more important than ever for water quality AND for ecosystem health. Your yard can be and should become part of a network of native plants that support the bees, birds, butterflies and others that are part of a complex and resilient ecosystem.  It is our hope that our neighborhood becomes a place where all properties do something to support that network and make it a great place to live.

We would like to help support that effort by offering a clump of mountain mint, a great pollinator plant, to five people who live in or near the Reedy Creek Watershed and have viewed the video. Names will be drawn on April 30th.  Use our contact form to get your name in the hat. Comment MOUNTAIN MINT.

The images below show just a few of the insect species that visit mountain mint.

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This post is dedicated to the memory of our friend and one of the founders of Reedy Creek Coalition, Robin Ruth. Her dying wish was “save the bees”, but we think she meant much more than that. Bees were just her project at the time. Robin cared deeply for the natural world from the soil teeming with life to the tops of the trees and every living thing between. We plan a series of posts with information about bees, birds, butterflies and perhaps other critters that need our help.