UMD’s Stumble Bees
Gardens Host Pollen-Fueled Rager, Earning National Recognition
By Sala Levin ’10
Illustration by Valerie Morgan
Photos by Stephanie S. Cordle
To be a bee on the University of Maryland campus is to feast at a pollinator’s bacchanal. They—along with butterflies, birds and beetles—chug from nectar- and pollen-rich native plants in a growing number of sites. The sobering fact, though, is that while disguised as mere landscaping, the gardens provide habitats essential to plant reproduction and healthy ecosystems, even as a toxic brew of environmental and human factors threatens pollinator populations locally and worldwide.
UMD’s years of efforts to cultivate a pollinator-friendly environment were recognized this spring by the Xerces Society with certification as a Bee Campus USA. It joins 163 other higher education institutions committed to growing native flowering species, providing nest sites and reducing pesticide use.
Here, UMD horticulturist Michael Ellis shows Terp some of the places a bee or bird might take a few heady sips.
Sparked by Department of Resident Life staff members’ interest in pollinators and gardening, Ellis planted anise hyssop, foxglove beardtongue, black-eyed Susans and goldenrods.
ARBORETUM OUTREACH CENTER
In a nook between SECU Stadium and the Denton Community, Virginia spiderworts, goldenrods and asters are taking root, next to a bee habitat wall built out of clay, sand and straw.
COMMUNITY LEARNING GARDEN
A hillside crevice between the Eppley Recreation Center and the School of Public Health Building hosts another bee habitat wall and a rain garden full of bee balm, giant sunflowers and bayberry.
EDWARD ST. JOHN LEARNING AND TEACHING CENTER
Swamp milkweeds are snacks for bees and monarch butterflies, while serviceberries tempt birds in this pollinator garden.
An extensive garden features Spigelia marilandica, a variety of Indian pink named for its red-and-yellow coloration; hummingbirds love its tubular shape. Coneflowers, ornamental roses and unique milkweeds are among the other treats this garden offers.
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