Learn how to start a pollinator garden in Phelps County

Lori Amos
The Rolla Daily News
Pollinators Garden Celebration

Phelps County Master Gardeners are offering a free class for area residents who want to learn how to start a pollinator garden, led by Kirsten McIntyre. 

According to McIntyre, pollinators are vital to plant survival and for increasing human’s food supply.

The class will cover garden design to attract pollinators, where to put the garden, plant choices and best planting techniques. Students will receive handouts and a free pollinator plant. 

McIntyre said, “If everyone just had a few feet of pollinator plants in their yards we could develop a feeding corridor so the Monarchs have enough energy to get to Florida and Mexico to survive the winter.”

A Monarch butterfly feasts in a field of goldenrod at Buckland Park in Brighton on September 7, 2021.

“Fall is the best time to plant small plants, since over the fall and winter the roots have time to develop, and then they love the spring rains so are likely to bloom,” McIntyre added. 

She recommends throwing local wildflower seeds in your garden between October and January as many of the native seeds need the freezing and thawing of a Missouri winter to creak open the outer seed casing to grow. 

McIntyre, who has a degree in landscape design, is a member of local Phelps County Master Gardeners, Meramec Hills Chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists, Missouri Prairie Foundation, Ozark River Audubon Society and is a professional Grow Native Member. 

The class is 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.,  Sept. 21, in the shade of the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden in front of The Centre, 1200 Holloway Road, in Rolla. 

Students should bring a chair if they wish.

To register for the give away pollinator plant, email Master Gardeners at phelpsgardener@gmail.com. 

Individuals must be at the class to receive it. 

For more information on the Phelps County Master Gardeners, visit PhelpsMasterGardeners.org, or email phelpsgardener@gmail.com.

More Information About Native Plants as Pawpaws, Missouri’s official fruit tree since 2019, ripen this month:

Pawpaw fruit on a Missouri tree.

According to Phelps County Master Gardeners professional members, Grow Native!, the papaw belongs to a mostly tropical family of plants. It is native to much of eastern North America, including Missouri. 

  • This understory tree grows up to 30 feet, forming groves in partially shaded woodlands and small woodland openings. Its large drooping leaves and fruits have a tropical appearance. 
  • In fall the foliage turns bright yellow. 
  • The maroon, bell-shaped flowers are pollinated by flies and beetles. Among the butterfly and moth larvae that feed on pawpaw leaves are the caterpillars of the zebra swallowtail butterfly and the pawpaw sphinx moth. 
  • Pawpaw fruit, also known as “poor man’s banana,” “American custard apple,” and “Missouri banana,” has a flavor similar to a banana or papaya, with a custard-like texture. People wishing to harvest the fruits have competition: wildlife, especially raccoons and opossums, quickly eat the ripened fruit in early fall. 

For suppliers of pawpaws and other native edibles, visit the Resource Guide at www.grownative.org.