You hear a lot about pollinators in the news these days, mostly because of the alarming decline in the population of bees. There is no denying that bees are excellent pollinators -- they tend to spend a lot of time on one blossom and pick up a tremendous amount of pollen that way. Butterflies are another well-known pollinator and their numbers have also been in decline. Monarch butterfly populations have declined 90% in the last 20 years.
Butterflies are not as prolific as bees as their bodies don't carry the large quantity of pollen that bees do. But they do have two advantages -- one is that they often fly longer distances and the other is that the pollen they carry in their mouths stays fresher longer.
Pollen carries the tree's male genes. Trees such as birches, hazels, pines, spruces, firs, cottonwoods, oaks, elms, and walnuts rely on the wind for pollination. Insect-pollinated trees include apples, cherries, catalpas, horse chestnuts, tulip trees and willows.
How can we help the butterfly and bee populations continue their important work of pollination? There are many lists available of plants such as butterfly milkweed, goldenrod, Joe Pye and blazing stars. But TREES can also play an important role as host plants because they often provide the first available food for pollinators in the spring. The top ten trees in support of butterfly/moth species are: oak, black cherry, willow, birch, poplar, crabapple, maple, elm, pine and hickory. So next time you are thinking about supporting pollinators in your own home landscape -- don't overlook the trees!
The gallery shows I have been in have mainly consisted of me (and other artists) bringing in our works of art already matted and framed and the art is then hung on walls. That's all well and good! But right now I am working on a show called "The Enchanted Forest" that is going to be atypical to say the least. And I'm very excited about it!
For starters, Mary Dill is working on creating a giant tree that will be installed in the center of the gallery. This will not be a realistic tree in terms of its bark or leaves, but will have the recognizable shape of a tree. Surprises will be hidden in various nooks and crannies of this tree. Tree-themed jewelry, crafted by Kate Stockman, will be used to adorn the tree. And a few fanciful creatures you'd not see in real life will be clustered at its base. If you take the time to look you'll see a water wheel and millpond.
There will be plenty of my true-to-life photos of trees on the wall, as well as some of Carol Pearce Bjorlie's tree poems. Hope Rodearmar’s “fairy chairs” are sure to enchant! Art Sauder’s wood carvings, Sarah Jane Oiler’s wire-wrapped art and Eva McCray’s pottery will enhance the entire experience.
The opening for this show is Friday, August 3, from 6 - 8pm and will run until August 30. The address is: 373 Harmon Field Rd. in Tryon, North Carolina. I hope to see you in this 'enchanted forest.'
Ruthie photographs trees because she loves them.
October 13 from
11am - 3pm
Mountain Made Gallery
Old Airport Rd.
November 16 - 18
"Tis the Season"
Holiday Fair at
David Event Center
761 New Boyleston Highway
333 Thompson St.