Wooden Surface

12 cards each with a different watercolor image of native flowers and their pollinators, all native to North America. Specialist and generalist pollinators are represented as are a mix of common and threatened species.


These lovely sets of cards are made by Daisy Hebb, Green Blossom Painting, out of Cambridge, MA.


From Daisy: "Each card has delicate hand-written notes I've made to help me and others learn more about our native plants and pollinators. While still being primarily a work of humble art, you'll see each plant and bug is named, common name and scientific name, and even the basic growing conditions for each plant - so you can consider if they might enjoy living in your garden!...

"As a gardener and novice ecologist, I've been dismayed to learn that many of our favorite garden plants aren't native to North America. What's more, this is a concern for pollinators, which may not find the same high-quality pollen and nectar stores in non-native flowers or cultivars (usu. different colors of a native) as they do in native flowers...

"The presence of specific native plants is especially important to Specialist pollinators, which may visit only a single plant genus for nourishment - without it, their young can't eat and they perish. You've probably heard how the monarch butterfly caterpillars (larvae) can only eat milkweed leaves or they won't survive. I learned there are over 70 varieties of milkweed native to the United States! The monarchs use about half of them regularly but might use more if some of the milkweed varieties weren't on the edge of extinction. It's a similar case with the karner blue butterfly and the East Coast native sundial lupine, another specialist relationship. The karner blue's caterpillars can only eat the sundial lupine's leaves or they will not survive. This butterfly and lupine are also featured in my 'Natives & their Pollinators Calendar' as well as the West Coast native, big leaf lupine. It can look almost exactly the same as the East Coast variety and is now taking over on the East Coast where it's not native - and consequently, a driving factor in the decline of the karner blue whose young die when the try to eat the non-native.

"I was fortunate enough to work with Spencer Hardy, a bee expert at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (https://vtecostudies.org/) to incorporate his rich knowledge of bees and their host plants. The bees don't eat the leaves but some do favor the pollen and nectar of certain flowers ...or their cozy stems to rest in over-winter and lay their eggs in come spring. I was fortunate to work with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies because it's guided by real, on-the-ground science with field workers going out every day and even expeditions at night, tracking the movement and health of our ecosystems. And when I say 'our' ecosystems, they don't just focus on Vermont. They work hard in advancing the conservation of wildlife across the Americas, through research, monitoring, and citizen engagement."


Photos are all from Daisy.


12 Native Plants & their Pollinators cards