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Helping honeybees and butterflies with native plants, one garden at a time

John Burroughs seniors Garrett Moore and Hunter Wilkins plant milkweed at Bellerive Park on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio
"St. Louis on the Air" will discuss the impact of local gardening on climate change.

Plants such as milkweed, blazing star, goldenrods, turtleheads, and the aster and cardinal flowers are just a few that are native to the St. Louis area. And, planting them is not only aesthetically pleasing but they are environmentally beneficial, especially to pollinators such as butterflies and honeybees.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with three experts about native plants and about a free upcoming event on Sept. 20 called, “Greening Your Community: Saving the Planet One Garden at a Time.”

“Native plants are cheaper to grow, they are happier in our local environment, they’ve evolved over thousands of years to like our bitter clay soil and our ridiculously hot summers,” said Kim Reiss, a horticulturist at Sugar Creek Gardens in Kirkwood. “I’m not going to say that they’re dummy proof so to speak but they’re a lot easier than getting into some of the fancier hybrids and cultivars.”

Linda Daniel is a LEED certified architect and member of U.S. Green Building Council - Missouri Gateway Chapter.

“We want to make sure the plants that are planted on our projects might help with natural habitats such as butterflies, and also protect the ground from erosion,” Daniel said. “Trees are also good for shade … [and] just selecting plants that are more water efficient and better for sustainability and for the environment.”

While butterflies and honeybees attract the most attention in terms of the pollinator species that are facing declines, Chris Hartley, the coordinator of science education at the Butterfly House in Faust Park, said that there are many more species of pollinator bees, beetles and flies.

Hartley is encouraged by teachers and parents who wish to educate their children about insects and plants. He said there is plenty of information online about how to get started but also said people are welcome to call the Butterfly House at (636) 530-0076.

Related Event

What: "Greening Your Community: Saving the Planet One Garden at a Time"
When: Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Where: The Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63117
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.