Save The Stems

November 9, 2022


Last night, Chelsea and I attended a lecture hosted by the Santa Fe Chapter of the New Mexico Native Plant Society.

The presentation was entitled, “Flower Power: How New Mexico Native Plants Attract Pollinators” with Kaitlin Haase, who is the Southwest Pollinator Conservation Specialist with the Xerces Society. Her talk spoke to the unique relationships between native plants and their pollinators, as well as the intricacies of plant-pollinator mutualisms.

In addition to her insights, we picked up a few materials that provided some guidance as well. One that I particularly found helpful was the “Nesting & Overwintering Habitat for pollinators & Other Beneficial Insects” Guide. The foremost tip I learned was that we need to “Save the Stems” for plants, especially wild flowers, over the winter.

Impulsively, once the flowers fall off, many of us probably cut down the brown and brittle stems that remain in our gardens or on our farms. Unwittingly, as a result, we are destroying the habitats where bees and other beneficial insects live, hibernate and plant their eggs during the cold season.

Thus, the best thing to do is leave the stems and leave any clipped flowers at the base as well, because this not only provides mulch that retains moisture for the plant and maintains healthy soil, but also creates additional nesting opportunities for other insects.

Subsequently, this morning Chelenzo Farms took the “Xerces Society Pollinator Pledge,” which asks that we commit to four principals:

1. Grow a variety of bee-friendly flowers that bloom from spring through fall.

2. Protect and provide bee nests and caterpillar host plants.

3. Avoid using pesticides, especially insecticides.

4. Talk to my neighbors about the importance of pollinators and their habitat.

Please consider joining us in taking the pledge and helping make this a better world.