22 January 2008
Wildflowers and Pollinators.
Elizabeth Joy over at Wildflower Morning is hosting a new photo-posting activity for the weeks leading up to spring. The object is to post a photo of a wildflower, with a different theme for each week. I'm just under the wire with this week's favourite wildflower, which is a photo of Campanula rotundifolia, or Scotch harebell. It's not the best photo I've ever taken, but it's special to me because this little plant was growing on the vast rocky expanses of the Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland; some of the most uninviting terrain for plants to be found, because of the toxic heavy metals in so many of the rocks that litter the mars-like landscape; rocks that were heaved up out of the earth's heart nearly a billion years ago. So I think this is a pretty special little plant.
It's no secret that I'm fond of wild flowers and other native plants, both in their natural habitats and in garden settings. I've got natives on my mind a lot lately, in part because I'm concerned about other natives; pollinating insects, some of which are dying off. We all heard the big honeybee scare last year, Colony Collapse Disorder, but the wild, native pollinators are as important to our environments.
I'll be writing more posts about pollinators later, but just wanted to share a happy bit of news for native bumblebees in our area. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has posted articles on its website about native bumblebees in decline, including one that is native to my area, Bombus terricola, the Yellow-banded bumblebee. I went through my photos of bees, because while I couldn't tell one species from another when I was photographing them--I just like bees--I thought the pattern looked familiar.
I sent this photo in to the society, who had their resident entomologist study the image and tell me, yes, this is a yellow-banded bee. You can be sure I'll be watching out for them more this coming gardening season; and if planting more natives (and more Eryngium, which bees adore in our yard) helps, then there will be many more natives going into our garden this year.
And lots of opportunities for wildflower photography. Pop on over to Wildflower Morning and join in the fun. Thanks to Nancy at Soliloquy for letting me know about this great bit of photoblogging, winter-unclogging relief.