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Greenspace: Don't uproot those dandelions quite yet

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As soon as lawns begin turning green again, a familiar yellow flower begins to speckle the urban and suburban landscape.

Dandelions are one of the first flowering plants in spring and bane of people who want meticulous monochromatic green lawns.

However, being one of the first flowers of the season, the flowers are an important food source for pollinators — especially bees.

Dandelion blooms are rich in pollen and nectar and have become an important bridge from winter. The nectar helps feed hives as warm weather returns and bees become more active.

When James White, a Rochester beekeeper, weighed in last week on keeping stalks, leaves and dead plants around for the spring, he also mentioned dandelions. He said they’re a helpful food at a time when sources are still somewhat scarce.

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He lets the dandelions bloom for his bees and then picks the flowers before they go to seed.

If you feel the dots of yellow are too much to put up with, White urges you to pull them up instead of using poison. Bees will seek out the blooms — especially this time of year, he said. Otherwise, leave them be at least until other blossoms are in bloom and bees can find more abundant and varied food sources.

A greener backyard

For people not so much into a monochrome lawn, but who want to make their yards greener, Quarry Hill Nature Center is hosting a Build a Greener Backyard Garden workshop April 27.

Jeff Feece, landscape architect for the butterfly and hummingbird gardens at Quarry Hill, will give a presentation on how to build a greener garden by using native plants to landscape for butterflies and other pollinators. The event is open to the public and begins at 10:30 a.m.

Feece is owner and landscape designer at Jeff Feece Designs.

Earlier in the day, Quarry Hill hosts a native plant sale. Starter plants come in 2-inch by 2-inch pots and are available for $4 each. Pick up a prairie plant and then stick around to find how and where to plant it so it thrives.

Happy birthday, Horus

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Round out your day at Quarry Hill Nature Center by celebrating the 18th birthday of Horus, the center’s resident kestrel. It’s a ripe age for the retired raptor. That event begins at 1 p.m. with a presentation followed by all-ages crafts and games at 1:30 p.m. Horus has been a center resident for educational purposes because he is too old to hunt in the wild.

Related Topics: GARDENING
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