Pollinators and the Fun of Herb Gardens


Title: Pollinators and the Fun of Herb Gardens
Presenter: Laura Klahre, Blossom Meadow Farm  
Sponsored By: Herb Society of America, Long Island Unit
Date and Time: Thursday, July 13th at noon  
Location: Setauket Neighborhood House (95 Main Street; Setauket NY)
  There are close to 450 different bee species in New York State, so why does everyone focus on the invasive non-native honeybee?!? Join bee rancher, farmer, and award-winning jammer Laura Klahre (Blossom Meadow Farm) for an eye-opening alternative pollinator discussion of Long Island’s native bees, flies, wasps, butterflies and moths. In our increasingly suburbanized landscapes, herb gardens serve as critical habitat for pollinators (food, shelter, and place to raise their young) as well as corridors to connect patches of natural habitat increasing gene flow, promoting reestablishment of locally extinct populations, and increasing species diversity within otherwise isolated areas. Native pollinators are not domesticated and need to be coaxed/managed to supercharge the pollination of your garden, farm and forest – herb gardens are a great management tool!  Through fantastic pictures and first-hand knowledge, we will cover 1) why and specifically which pollinators will be most advantageous for higher yields and larger, more well-rounded produce, 2) ways in which you can “play” with your winged visitors (e.g., sunflowers are a great venue for “high fiving” bumble bees; mason bees are fun “pets” and visit flowering fruit trees; moon gardens are great for moths and people that work late hours but still like gardening; create your own “caterpillar rave”; iNaturalist is an easy way to identify and map a pollinator using your smartphone) and 3) specific actions we have taken at the farm to support pollinator populations (e.g., species planted, types of habitat provided, and bee ranching efforts).
Bio: Laura Klahre’s work life has spanned the Dept of Interior, Peconic Estuary Program, and The Nature Conservancy before incorporating her farm in 2009. Blossom Meadow Farm in Southold NY specializes in growing organic berries to make award-winning jam (national Good Food Awards, International Flavor Awards, World Jam Festival) and raising mason bees for sale as cocoons. Now widely coined as Regenerative Agriculture, Blossom Meadow Farm embraces nature to improve soil health and maximize seed set, resulting in consistent harvests of premium fruit each year.