This Week's Podcast: A Replay: A Fascinating Passion and a Noble Mission with Heather Holm
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Heather Holm is a naturalist and garden designer who is fascinated by the insects that visit flowers, like bumble bees (left). She studies these insects and patiently takes remarkable photographs of them. But Heather’s passion isn’t just any plants and any insects. She grows and investigates native plants and the pollinators that have evolved with them. Sometimes, these plant and animal relationships are very specific, and Heather has presented these associations in a new, self-published reference, Pollinators of Native Plants.
The book is not only a reference, but a guide for gardeners and nature-lovers written in a clear, engaging and accessible style. She shows the plants, writes about them in great detail – their places of origin, soil type preference, water needs and flower description -- and then shows the insect associated with that plant.
Heather has arranged her book by habitat type: Prairie, Woodland Edge, Wetland Edge. You can look up what your situation is like and find the plants that may live in your area – shown by shaded sections of a US map. (Sample spread from the book, below.)
We all read and hear so much about honeybees and colony collapse, but most people do not realize that honeybees are not native insects and there are hundreds of bees that are. Agriculture depends on honeybees, but native plants rely on native pollinators. Native pollinators are as threatened as the honeybee. If we want to welcome these insects to our gardens, or help the insects that are already around, what should we do?
“Plant native plants,” says Heather.