Let me introduce you to Tom Stewart, Tom is currently the President of the Native Plant Society
and volunteers to keep an eye on the El Oso Grande Pollinator Habitat located on the east side
of our beautiful park. If you have not walked through the unique habitat lately please take the time for a leisurely stroll and enjoy the sights.
Pollinator Habitat 2020
I have been a fan of the Oso Grande Pollinator Habitat always, but inheriting the watering tech job was a new challenge. I remember the joyous kick-off day way back when the original volunteers put in numerous potted plants. Unfortunately, no one kept track of which plants were on which of the four separate irrigation lines. Although most of the shrubs we put in have grown, many of the original smaller plants have been lost — a few possibly “poached” by would-be gardeners, and some chewed by rabbits. The latter sometimes come back stronger.
Most losses came from lack of water during drought times. So sorting out which plants were affected by leaks in a particular line, and ferreting out all the clogged emitters (drippers) was a time-consuming chore in early summer. A big triumph was locating and repairing an underground gusher that my predecessor was unable to fix. It grew even worse after he departed. Happily, I can say now that everything is working like it should and a half-dozen new plants are doing well. More will appear as temperatures moderate and it is safe again to plant.
The habitat has proven to be a refuge for all kinds of wild bees, butterflies, birds and lots of blue tail and other lizards. Even a few honeybees show up. Surprising new plants are volunteering, perhaps from the old seed bank in the soil or a seed dropped by a bird or a dog’s feet. The flowers change during the day, with the plentiful “doze daisies” opening from their snooze around midday and the yellow blazing star opening toward evening. Some show only after a rain, like the blue-flowered “purple sage.”
This place is also a refuge for human beings who need to get out, away from their homes for a little while and experience something different and peaceful. They enjoy reading the new, neater signs identifying the different plants. Things will only improve as time goes on. Meanwhile, I have some suggestions for visitors. Please stay on the paths for safety sake — there are prickly things and tripping hazards out there. If you bring a dog, please leash and pick up after him. And don’t discard fruit or other people foods to support critters. As well-meaning as it might be, the critters don’t seem to relish it and it lingers looking out of place. Let’s thank our friends and neighbors for rejuvenating the paths, improving the signage and the other good deeds they so enthusiastically contribute.