A welcomed visitor to the Canillas Community Garden today.  Zinnias seem to be monarchs’ flower of choice and this zinnia certainly adds vibrant color contrast to the butterfly. Don’t you love the polka-dotted body suit that coordinates with the wings?!

“Butterflies . . . flowers that fly and all but sing.” – Robert Frost.

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New Pollinator Garden in Pocket Park!


Bird’s-eye view from Hanover Street bridge with Mascoma River in the background

Upper Valley Pollinator Partners have a goal of 100 new pollinator gardens in the Upper Valley.  Canillas gardeners have created a new one this year at Canillas and another in the pocket park at the west end of the downtown tunnel in Lebanon, behind Goss Logan Insurance. (The park had been developed as an Eagle Scout project of Jake Jasinski.) We have focused on long-blooming pollinator perennials that can take care of themselves: Purple coneflowers, bee balm, daylilies, black-eyed Susans, daisies, asters, cranesbill geranium, lupines. We are hoping when the Mascoma River Greenway opens next year, folks will enjoy a picnic lunch and the flowers, there by the waterfall. It is a wonderful spot!
Phase 1 Progress:
​August 12, 2017​ – no garden​

​​August 13 – ​Weeded and 2 sacks manure

​August 16 – ​2 more sacks manure and 5 coneflowers planted. Hard work – so many rocks and roots!​


 ​6 more sacks manure (8/18) and yellow daylilies planted ​(8/19)

Hard-working Paula!​

​​August 19 – added 3 asters, 3 bee balm, 2 black-eyed Susans,
 12 portulaca​

August 28 – Added black-eyed susan, 2 daylilies, daisy, 4 purple coneflowers, dark mulch with compost.

August 30 – ​2 daylilies and 1 coneflower added​ – lupine seeds will be planted along the back in a few weeks and alyssum to be planted, curving along the front, in the spring.  (Spring will be lovely with all the crabapple and the black cherry trees in the park!)
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Highrise Bee House


About 140 species of native bees make their homes in preexisting holes and woodpecker drillings; they are naturally drawn to the bamboo tubes in this bee house which faces the morning sun. You can see that female bees have laid eggs in some of these tubes, filled the tubes with nourishment,  and sealed off the entrance so the young can grow safely.

A female mason bee, for example, will back into one of these tubes, lay an egg, deposit pollen and nectar (food for when the egg hatches), and build a wall of mud to create a brood cell. She then repeats this process about 10 times, creating a cell for each egg.

Leaf-cutter bees build their egg cells with pieces of leaves. They build multiple egg chambers per nest hole and deposit an egg in each chamber with a bit of pollen, nectar and saliva to nourish the larvae. The varied-sized tubes attract different kinds of bees.

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The Wide, Wild World of Bees!


Most of us grew up knowing the names of exotic animals:  lions, tigers, panthers, pumas, zebras, sloths . . .  animals we are unlikely to encounter in our day to day lives. Yet bees, how many different kinds of bees can we name or identify? Do you know there are more than 4,000 varieties of bees native to North America, and an estimated 200 different bee species right here in New England? They are everywhere and our pollinator garden project is making me realize how much I don’t know! Some live in colonies, some live solitary lives. Some specialize, such as squash bees which only pollinate squash and pumpkins; others are generalists. Some bees are aggressive, others are not. Only females sting; some, with barbed stingers, die when they sting; those with non-barbed stingers may be able to sting multiple times. Will I ever be able to identify a mason bee? A plasterer bee? A carpenter bee or cuckoo bee?  I’m working on it!  Check out and add to the varieties you can identify!

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Pollinator Garden in August


Our pollinator garden is flourishing and alive with a variety of bees. How lucky we have been to have kept these towering sunflowers from the resident woodchucks!

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Butterflies at Work!

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Compared to a bee, a butterfly’s proboscis and legs are longer and farther away from a flower’s pollen; less pollen collects on its body parts than it does on bees, but still they are effective pollinators.  And they certainly add to the beauty of our garden as they flit from flower to flower.



Black Swallowtail (photo by Suzanne Church)

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Squash Time!


Up at dawn, those early-riser squash bees are doing a great job pollinating our many squash plants!

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