Gardening With and For Pollinators

Tumacácori National Historical Park


Hi! My name is Laura Kelly. I'm an SCA intern - Student Conservation Association - at Tumacacori National Historical Park. I work in the gardens: we have a front garden, a courtyard garden, and a heritage orchard. So we have many wonderful natural treasures here that you may know about, but I'm hoping to share with you some new information, some new gifts, some things that you can apply to your own backyard. So, let me share with you our gardens. The courtyard garden is made mostly of plants that would have been introduced by the Spanish missionaries as they traveled here. Here we have a pear tree, we have a pomegranate tree, peaches I have an attachment to this young fennel because I grew it from seed at home, and that was my first time growing herbs from seed. It was really satisfying to me to see it sprout, to see it grow There's a lot of work that goes into this recreation of the mission garden. I work here five days a week, but I'm just one of the most recent people to come work here in this garden. The Civilian Conservation Corps in 1939 was the group that originally built this courtyard garden as it is today. We have garden volunteers who help us, we had Master Gardeners who did a lot of work here establishing these gardens, so I'm just helping to keep up that legacy, and that story. The gardens were not just a place for people to come and find things that they needed in the form of food and medicine, etc. It was also a place for people to find things that they needed in the form of beauty, and just a natural spot to relax. So a lot of people are familiar already with the courtyard garden. Now that we've taken a look at the courtyard garden, I'd really like to show you the entrance garden at the front of the park. This garden project started as an effort to tell more of the story of the native plants that already existed here before the Spanish missionaries came and introduced some helpful garden plants for the residents to cultivate. They were already cultivating and collecting wild from plants like these that are featured in the front garden. Some of these are useful for food, medicine, just like plants in the courtyard garden, but many of them are also useful just for our eyes to look at. They're just very pretty. Let's see, there's a butterfly milkweed right over here, and that's just one of four different types of milkweed that we have. So these are important host plants for the monarch butterfly to lay their eggs. The monarch caterpillars will only eat milkweed throughout their whole life as a caterpillar. We have nectar plants such as the Indian blanket flower over here; we have desert marigold. I'd like to show you how to create your own Monarch Waystation, or just a habitat, or an oasis for pollinators, just like we have here in the front garden. It's really easy. All you have to do is get some potter's clay, some compost or potting soil, and some native seeds. I have a mix here - about three tablespoons of seeds, native wildflowers. So the challenge here is to use as many different types of native seeds as you can. The more variety you have in your pollinator garden, the more pollinators you're going to attract, because even though the milkweed is the host plant for the monarch butterfly, these other wildflowers that you might choose can be host plants for other butterflies and pollinators too. So, you're creating a habitat not only for these monarchs, but also for any other native insects that are going to be beneficial to your garden. The more pollinators that you can attract to your garden, the better off your garden's going to be. The other good thing is with more variety comes more blooms throughout the season, so, you know, the bladderpod might bloom early in the season, the chocolate flower might bloom a little bit later, etc. So you're always going to have nectar sources for your pollinators as needed throughout the year. After you've blended your dry ingredients together, including the seeds, you're then going to add about a quarter cup of water. Make as many as you can. You can give them away to friends. You can throw them into your own backyard. You can plant them in pretty much any container that you can find. The flowers that we love to see, any fruits or vegetables or herbs that we're growing - those are going to continue to be propagated in our garden because of the pollinators that visit. Humans can benefit from just the labor of doing gardening work. It might be dirty, but that's what makes it fun. That's what makes me want to come out here every day. It connects you to the natural world in a way that's very special and personal. Then, the garden benefits from your hard work, and you can see the literal fruits of your labor. But then, we have all this help from the native pollinators, the wildlife, everything is connected to the plants in an area. So whether you grow herbs that are introduced, or whether you just like to enjoy the native plants that have been here all along, gardening's a great activity. It wouldn't be possible without the pollinators, and we wouldn't be possible without the plants around us. It smells really good.


Tumacácori protects a legacy of gardeners going back thousands of years. And an ecosystem of pollinators going back even further.


6 minutes, 4 seconds



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