Weed or Flower?

“Is this a weed or a flower?” – one of the most commonly asked questions I get here at the Extension Office.  I always answer: is it growing where it supposed to?  If not, then it is a weed.  A coneflower growing in a bluegrass lawn is a weed and bluegrass growing in a coneflower…

A Turtlehead Tutorial

Turtlehead, Chelone spp., is one of the great flowers of the late summer garden.  Flowers are either pink or white and are shaped like, you guessed it, a turtle’s head. Turtlehead is a great pollinator plant, adding a tapestry of color and flight to the garden. The plant must have an impish streak too because…

Stupendous Liatris

You may be aware of the spiked gayfeather that graces florist bouquets, but this is just the beginning of all Liatris has to offer.  People unfamiliar with the plant are often surprised to find out it is a native.  Nothing beats the intense purple color of flower spikes that manage to hold themselves up without…

Pollinators and the food we eat

It has been well-established and well-discussed that pollinators are responsible for the production (and reproduction) of about 35 percent of the crops that we grow for consumption.  While most of the staple crops like corn and wheat are wind pollinated and don’t require a pollinator, our diet is much more varied and interesting thanks to…

National Pollinator Week: Soldier Beetles

What a happy combination—soldier beetles and butter daisies! The soldier beetle, Chauliognathus spp., is a ½ inch long insect that gets its name from its wing covers, which resemble a uniform. It may remind you of the lighting bug, and rightly so, since they are related. Both the larvae and adults of soldier beetles feed…

Eryngium planum – Sea Holly

Happy Pollinator Week! What an amazing time to celebrate pollinators.  We know that insects play a vital role in our ecosystem.  But did you know almost every third bite of food you take comes from a plant that has been pollinated by an insect.  Wow! Pollinators are out and about all season long from early…