A Great Presentation by a Great Master Gardener
Janet D. Smith, Dallas County Master Gardener, delivered a fun, information-packed presentation for our Bud and Blossom Garden Club this morning on the topic of plants and their relationship with their pollinators. In addition to being a Dallas County Master Gardener, Janet has a BA degree with majors in Russian and Spanish.
Just last night I attended an inspirational presentation sponsored by Garland ISD and delivered by Adolf Brown from Virginia Beach. His presentation focused on the importance of volunteerism in our public schools. Fresh in my mind was Dr. Brown’s emphasis on fun in our relationships and especially in relating with kids. Janet would be a perfect poster child for what Dr. Brown advocated because she was fun and funny. Yet, in all the humor and entertainment, there was a lot of learning.
Janet was fantastic. Her presentation stirred my mind once again in consideration of just how much of our world we are totally unaware of: As Janet put it, there is a huge orgy going on in the garden that few people ever see. There is an intelligence to plants that defies comprehension and leaves most of us able to do little more than stand back in awe and appreciation of all that is happening right under our noses in the garden.
HERE ARE A FEW AMAZING THINGS I LEARNED FROM JANET’S PRESENTATION REGARDING THE INTELLIGENCE OF PLANTS AND POLLINATORS:
1. Did you know the size and type of pollen that is deposited on a flower makes a difference? Female parts of flowers are made so they will not accept pollen that comes from another flower. For example, a daffodil will not accept pollen from a tulip. Furthermore, some plants such as zinnias won’t accept pollen deposited from their particular plant. It must come from a different zinnia.
2. Did you know that a bee must know when it is loaded for capacity?
Otherwise it could become too heavy to fly when loaded with pollen. Somehow they know and stop gathering nectar and pollen. Too bad we humans don’t have that capability.
3. Did you know there are 20,000 species of bees worldwide?
4. Did you know that Bumblebees only pollinate our native plants? Janet compared them to the Bison of the bees. Bumblebees use buzz pollination. Their bodies vibrate and plants are tuned to release pollen according to particular rates of vibration.
5. Did you know that the first settlers to the USA brought the dandelion to Jamestown with them as a food source? Dandelions are a cool weather food source for pollinators. We should not poison them out of our yards. They will die when it gets hot. Dandelion leaves are packed with nutrition.
6. Did you know that pollinators support an $18 to $20 billion business? They are responsible for at least 1/3 of all the food we consume and one half of the fats and oils we eat. In addition to that, we use their fibers for our clothing.
Communities are taking steps to protect pollinators.
It is no surprise that communities are waking up to the importance of pollinators and are taking serious steps to protect them and increase the existence of their habitats. The I-35 corridor from Texas to Minnesota is known as the pollinator highway. A program is now in place and supported by several federal agencies as well as local communities along the way to plant 100 miles to either side of this roadway with pollinator-friendly plants including the milkweed in particular.
Another interesting coincidence along the serendipitous path of life
I was reminded again today of the inherent reciprocity of volunteerism. We often get back more than we give. The meeting for today’s Bud and Blossom Garden Club (the oldest garden club in Garland) was held at the home of Dianne Nadolsky. Her husband, Nicholas Nadolsky, former Chairman of the Board at Micropac Industries, was born in Turkey of Russian Parents who had fled Russia at the time of the Russian Revolution. The Nadolsky home is filled with Russian icons and treasures from his family who were part of the Russian aristocracy. The Nadolsky home is like a museum of Russian artifacts. Imagine Janet’s surprise and enthusiasm as Nicholas took her on a tour of his and Diane's lovely home.
Diane Nadolsky and Yvonne Divine chat at the Bud and Blossom meeting today.
Donna Bentley, President Bud and Blossom Garden Club read a thank-you letter from Loving Garland Green for a donation we received. If you’ve never seen rubber cowboy gardening boots, then you’ve never seen Donna.
Dallas County Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who support Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
If you have a group with at least 10 members, you can choose from many garden topics offered by the Texas Master Gardeners of Dallas Texas, trained volunteers supporting Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Call the Master Gardeners Help Desk at 214-904-3053. They have many topics and speakers. I’m hoping to be able to get Janet to make a presentation to Loving Garland Green near the end of March on the topic of Monarchs. I’m sure that presentation would be as fabulous as her “Sex in the Garden.” I almost forgot to mention: Janet is also an accomplished photographer and her slides are great.