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Speaking About Plants at the Muskoka Parry Sound Beekeepers Association

Virginia Waterleaf flower with Bumblebee

On Wednesday May 10, 2023 I had the privilege of speaking at the monthly meeting for the Muskoka Parry Sound Beekeepers Association. Local beekeepers Trish and Steve invited me to speak about plants native to the Muskoka region. It was a pleasure being amongst a group of such dedicated beekeepers; the meeting was well attended and I enjoyed sharing my love of nature with the group.

For the talk, I prepared a list of over 50 plants that have huge value to native pollinators and to honey bees as well. Having native plants in the landscape maintains biodiversity and enhances relationships that are mutually beneficial to all insects, wildlife and to plants.

Muskoka is blessed with having a dynamic landscape and it is home to great diversity in flora and fauna. The area is forested with coniferous and hardwoods. The land is famous for its large outcroppings of barren rock. The region is intersected by many lakes, rivers and wetlands, all adding to its biodiversity. The seasonal cycle of sun and shade in forested areas creates an ever changing pattern of bloom-time as well as changes in habitat. The soil in Muskoka has a wide range, from thin and sandy to nutrient-rich or acidic.

Muskoka is unique in its habitat where a small patch of land can have great diversity. Its not uncommon to find an acre of land with barren rock, a sloped hill, a shaded woodland and even a marsh or river. Each of these settings is in itself its own unique ecosystem of plant communities with relationships to insects and pollinators.

Unfortunately development and many land management practices are contributing to the loss of habitat. It is my hope that by knowing more about the plants that are native to the region and encouraging their preservation, we can reverse the negative impacts of development.

Many of the pollinator plants that I selected for the beekeepers talk will be included in this blog along with fun facts and interesting finds in the way of insects and other living creatures. The plants are based in on-going study, field observations, heritage reports and plant databases. I will be presenting them for the most part during their peek bloom time but that may vary. When there isn't time for writing, I will be sharing short anecdotal stories, drawings or photographs. Please subscribe to this blog or follow Nature Gardens on social media; I look forward to having you join me on this journey!

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