Monday, May 12, 2014

New Pollinator Garden at Pacific Science Center

If you've visited Pacific Science Center in the last several months, you may have noticed some gardening activity along the Boeing IMAX walkway. What's going on here?

Thanks to a generous grant from the Pendleton and Elisabeth Miller Charitable Foundation, Pacific Science Center will soon have a Pollinator Garden. Half of the garden was planted in March, and the second half will be planted in June.

You may be wondering, what is a pollinator? Pollinators are animals that help plants reproduce. Because plants are relatively immobile, many rely on animals for reproduction. Plants attract animals to visit their flowers using colors, scents, and rewards like nectar. By visiting multiple flowers, animals transfer pollen between plants, which allow the plants to produce seeds and fruits. Pollination is tremendously important for ecosystems and for human food-production. Some studies estimate that one-third of the food that humans eat is dependent on pollinators visiting flowers. Do you enjoy eating strawberries, apples, or chocolate? Thank a pollinator.

Unfortunately, many pollinators are having a tough time. Habitat loss, ecosystem disruptions, disease, and pesticides all play a role in pollinator decline. Their decline impacts human food supply, as well as the health and diversity of ecosystems.

The Pollinator Garden at Pacific Science Center will be a place for visitors to see local pollinators and learn more about how to help them. The garden will feature Northwest native plants, as native plants are the most likely to attract and support native pollinator species. A variety of flowering plants with different bloom times were chose to provide many months of nectar and pollen for adult pollinators. Several wind-pollinated plants were added to provide food and habitat for butterfly caterpillars and nesting pollinators. Some of the pollinators we hope to attract to the garden include native butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, bee flies, and beetles.

Come stroll through the Pollinator Garden at Pacific Science Center this summer to enjoy the flowers and spot some pollinators!

Species Name(Common Name)

Adiantum aleuticum (Western maidenhair fern)
Aquilegia formosa (Western columbine)
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick)
Asarum caudatum (Western wild ginger)
Athyrium filix-femina (Lady fern)
Betula papyrifera (Paper birch)
Camassia leichtlinii ssp. Suksdorfii (Greater camas)
Ceanothus velutinus (Snowbrush ceanothus)
Cornus canadensis (Canadian bunchberry)
Cornus sericea (Red-twig dogwood)
Dicentra formosa (Pacific bleeding heart)
Dodecatheon hendersonii (Henderson's shooting star)
Epipactis gigantea (Chatterbox orchid)
Erythronium oregonum (Giant white fawn lily)
Erythronium revolutum (Mahogany fawn lily)
Festuca roemeri (Roemer’s fescue)
Festuca rubra (Red fescue)
Fragaria virginia (Virginia strawberry)
Fritillaria camschatcensis (Kamchatka fritillary)
Gaultheria shallon (Salal)
Lilium columbianum (Columbia lily)
Lonicera ciliosa (Western trumpet honeysuckle)
Mahonia nervosa (Low Oregon grape)
Penstemon davidsonii (Davidson's penstemon)
Penstemon rupicola (Rock penstemon / Cliff beardtongue)
Philadelphus lewisii (Lewis’s mock orange)
Physocarpus capitatus (Pacific ninebark)
Pleuropogon refractus (Nodding semaphore grass)
Quercus vaccinifolia (Huckleberry oak)
Rhododendron occidentale (Western azalea)
Rhus glabra cismontana (Dwarf smooth sumac)
Ribes aureum var. areum (Golden current)
Ribes sanguineum (Red flowering current)
Spiraea douglasii (Douglas' spiraea)
Spiraea splendens var. splendens (Rose meadowsweet)
Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus (Snowberry)
Trillium ovatum (Western trillium)
Vaccinium ovatum (Evergreen huckleberry)
Vancouveria hexandra (White inside-out flower)

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