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RE: [Pollinator] [beemonitoring] Bee Lawn Mix Thought

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  • Ed Spevak
    Thanks Peter, Some great talking points for education. Ed Edward M. Spevak Curator of Invertebrates St Louis Zoo One Government Drive St Louis, MO 63110
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 5, 2009
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      Thanks Peter,

       

      Some great talking points for education.

       

      Ed

       

      Edward M. Spevak

      Curator of Invertebrates

      St Louis Zoo

      One Government Drive

      St Louis, MO 63110

      314-646-4706

      314-807-5419 Cell

      314-647-7969 Fax


      From: Peter Bernhardt [mailto:bernhap2@...]
      Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 1:42 PM
      To: Ed Spevak
      Cc: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com; sdroege@...
      Subject: Re: [Pollinator] [beemonitoring] Bee Lawn Mix Thought

       

      Dear Ed:

       

      Once upon a time, all public and private lawns were full of flowers.  The tradition of the lawn begins in the Middle Ages when special events meant cutting up turf and arranging them in a palace courtyard completed with field flowers.  This was known as the "flowery meade" [meadow].

       

      The tradition of flowering lawns has persisted, at least, in Western Europe for hundreds of years.  In fact, European horticulturists and plant breeders continue to recommend planting flowers in lawns where grass is sparse due to soil, climate and or shade conditions.  You plant seeds or bulbs in the bare patches and I saw much of this in Basel , Switzerland .  This is particularly popular with those fond of small corms or bulbs of early spring monocots.  It was much popularized in England during the 20th century by the famous crocus and daffodil breeder, E.A. Bowles.  The tradition persists in a number of former British colonies.  For example, lawns at some Australian universities are usually seeded with the tiny "English daisy" (Bellis perrenis).  

       

      Those interested should consider viewing the color photos in Richard Mabey's "Floral Britannica: Book of Spring Flowers," Chatto & Windus, London (1998).  Please pay particular attention to  pages 34, 35, 68, 69, 71, 80, 87, 90, 110 and 112.  Note, in particular, how native and introduced herbaceous species are encouraged on the lawns of old universities, churchyards and cemeteries.  Rarer plants (including orchids and kagaroo paw flowers) are still encouraged in some rural Australian cemeteries (depending on the local burial society).   Please see Chapter 14 in my book, "Natural Affairs; A Botanist Looks at the Attachments Between Plants and People." (1983), Villard Books, New York .  In many ways, we are decades behind Australia and centuries behind western Europe.      

       

      Sincerely, Peter

      On Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 12:03 PM, Ed Spevak <spevak@...> wrote:

      Sam,

       

      We have been investigating the possibility of establishing a bee/pollinator friendly lawn with graphics here at the zoo as part of our Native Pollinator Conservation Initiative and hope to have one started this spring.

       

      Ed

       

      Edward M. Spevak

      Curator of Invertebrates

      St Louis Zoo

      One Government Drive

      St Louis, MO 63110

      314-646-4706

      314-807-5419 Cell

      314-647-7969 Fax


      From: pollinator-bounces+spevak=stlzoo.org@lists.sonic.net [mailto:pollinator-bounces+spevak=stlzoo.org@lists.sonic.net] On Behalf Of Matthew Shepherd (Xerces Society)
      Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 10:57 PM
      To: Pollinator list
      Cc: Sam Droege
      Subject: Re: [Pollinator] [beemonitoring] Bee Lawn Mix Thought

       

      Sam,

       

      You may be pleased to know that the idea of flowery lawns has not been totally overlooked. We've been promoting "ecolawns" wherever we can -- and I admit that it has only been in a few places to date, so I doubt it has had a big impact yet. Whenever I get the opportunity to talk to gardeners, urban/suburban park managers, and others with lawns under their purview, finding ways to reduce the intensity of lawn maintenance and allow flowers to bloom is part of the discussion.

       

      Our guidelines for urban greenspaces ("Pollinator-Friendly Parks", available from the publications pages of our web site, www.xerces.org), includes mention of ecolawns and suggests some low-growing plants. The reality is that many areas of grass are already low-maintenance and in the eyes of some lawn aficionados, full of weeds, so they offer some bee resources.

       

      Matthew

       

      *********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

      On 2/4/2009 at 1:00 PM David Inouye wrote:


      From: Sam Droege <sdroege@...>
      Sender: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      Mailing-List: list beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com; contact beemonitoring-owner@yahoogroups.com

      All:

      From what I have seen of the urban pollination/pollinator world, the concentration of research, advice, and management has focused on flowering plants, both in remnant parkland and in garden plots.  All good.  Bees are found in surprising places and easily surpass butterflies in abundance and kinds.  But.  Places that are gardenable and convertible are limited, particularly compared to paved areas and lawns.   Paved areas are of limited use for pollinators, of course, but lawns, while ignored by the average bee urbanite, are not.   We have sampled lawns on the National Mall and elsewhere and found bees in abundance.  What are they doing there?  I think it has a lot to do with  prostrate flowers such as clover, purslane, and spurge plus the quick bloomers such as dandelions and plantains. 

      What if someone would develop a bee lawn seed mix? 

      Wouldn't that potentially have a higher impact on the number and kinds of bees in urban areas than the high effort, high cost, high maintenance (but, yes, very pretty) pollinator garden?  Particularly if most people don't want to go to the effort?

      What if highway departments seeded with a bee roadside mix that didn't require them to NOT mow or to treat any different than they do now....wouldn't that be an even greater impact than the few places where people tolerate weedy looking native plant plots and can afford the planting and upkeep?

      sam

                                                    
      Sam Droege  sdroege@...                     
      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville , MD   20705
      Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov



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      ______________________________________________________

      The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

      The Xerces Society is an international nonprofit organization that

      protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their

      habitat. To join the Society, make a contribution, or read about our

      work, please visit www.xerces.org.

       

      Matthew Shepherd

      Senior Conservation Associate

      4828 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland , OR 97215 , USA

      Tel: 503-232 6639 Cell: 503-807 1577 Fax: 503-233 6794

      ______________________________________________________

       

       

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