Wednesday, April 26, 2017

17th Annual Plant Sale, Sat., 05/06/17, 9am-1pm

© Ellen Macdonald

The Penn State Master Gardeners of Bucks County hold their 17th Annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 6, 2017, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Neshaminy Manor Center Health Building, 1282 Almshouse Rd, Doylestown, PA (corner of Route 611 and Almshouse Rd).

This is a rain or shine event.

The sale offers many types of annuals, perennials, rare and unusual woodies, Master Gardener grown and donated plants, a huge selection of herbs and vegetables, including heirloom types.  Also offered are pond and butterfly/pollinator plants, shade and deer-resistant plants, house plants, native plants, container garden plants, as well as a beautiful selection of gift plants for Mother’s Day.  

This year’s sale features a much larger area with more parking and easier checkout.  
50+ Master Gardeners are on hand to answer home gardening questions and help with plant selection for Bucks County gardens.

Bring your wagon or cart. Boxes are available as well as help getting your purchases to your vehicle.   Cash and checks are preferred.

For additional information please call 215-345-3283.  All proceeds benefit the educational outreach of the Penn State Master Gardener Program of Bucks County.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Latest Buzz on Pollinators

Easter Cucurbit Bee - Peponapis pruinosa © Alex Surcic─â

Pollinators are animals (mostly insects but some mammals) that fertilize plants, resulting in seeds and fruit. Humans and other animals rely on pollinators to produce nuts and fruits that are essential components of a healthy diet.  Also, pollinator help is needed to make the seeds that will become the next generation of plants.
World-wide, pollinator populations are shrinking and several factors are contributing to this disturbing global trend. 
Habitat destruction along with chemical use are major contributors to ongoing declines in pollinator populations. You can help reverse this troubling trend by planting a pollinator garden and limiting chemical use on your property. 

In 2017, thanks to the
efforts of the Xerces Society, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the rusty patched bumble bee as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Why?  Rusty patched bumble bees contribute to our food security and the healthy functioning of our ecosystems. Bumble bees are keystone species in most ecosystems, necessary for native wildflower reproduction and for creating seeds and fruits that feed wildlife as diverse as songbirds and grizzly bears. Bumble bees are among the most important pollinators of crops such as blueberries, cranberries, and clover and almost the only insect pollinators of tomatoes. Bumble bees are more effective pollinators than honey bees for some crops because of their ability to “buzz pollinate.” The economic value of pollination services provided by native insects (mostly bees) is estimated at $3 billion per year in the United States.

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee - Bombus affinis © Dan Mullen

Have you seen a rusty patched bumblebee?  Submit a sighting!

Meanwhile, scientists have some wild ideas about solving the bee problem.  Eijiro Myiako, a researcher at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, thinks there may be a technological fix. He and his colleagues have developed an insect-sized drone capable of artificially pollinating flowering plants!

Are you a beekeeper?  Penn State’s Center for Pollinator Research needs your help! Through a beekeeper-scientist partnership, you can help identify landscape features that promote honey bee health. The Center is looking for interested beekeepers in Pennsylvania and surrounding states to be a part of this project.  Registration closes May 31st.

Are you interested in becoming a beekeeper?  Check out Penn State's online Beekeeping 101 course.

Keep up with the latest research on pollinators at Penn State’s Center for Pollinator Research and the Xerces Society.

If your Bucks County garden club, library, EAC or other group would like a Master Gardener presentation called "The Latest Buzz on Pollinators" we can help!  Contact us at

-- Kathleen Connally
Master Gardener Coordinator
Master Watershed Steward Coordinator
Penn State Extension - Bucks County

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Join us for "Cultivating Respect for Insect Diversity"

Please join the Bucks County Master Gardeners, in partnership with the Henry Schmieder Arboretum at Del Val University and Bucks Beautiful, in welcoming Dr. Daniel P. Duran, Associate Teaching Professor at Drexel University and adjunct faculty member of the Barnes Foundation Arboretum School, to the Life Science Center at Del Val University.

Simply put: all life on earth depends on insects, for more reasons than most people realize. This presentation will explore some of the immeasurably important ways that insects keep ecosystems functioning. Nutrient recycling, pollination services, and trophic interactions will be reviewed. Lastly, there will be a discussion of the ways in which we can conserve our much needed insect diversity.

Dr. Daniel P. Duran is an Associate Teaching Professor at Drexel University and adjunct faculty member at the Barnes Foundation Arboretum School. He is also president and co-founder of a new non-profit insect conservation organization, The Mid-Atlantic Native & Threatened Insect Zoo (MANTIZ). He received a B.S. in Environmental Science from Stockton University in 1998, an M.S. in Entomology from University of Missouri in 2002, and a Ph.D. in Evolution and Ecology from Vanderbilt University in 2010. In between his degrees, he has also worked for the Natural History Museum, London, UK and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Currently, he teaches courses about a variety of topics pertaining to ecology, evolution, insects, and plants. His research is focused on 1) the discovery of new species and advancing the field of integrative taxonomy, and 2) examining the important roles of insects and plants in functioning ecosystems. Dr. Duran is a co-author of the book "A Field Guide to the Tiger Beetles of the United States and Canada, 2nd Edition".

Cultivating Respect for Insect Diversity
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
6:30pm Reception, light refreshments
7:00pm Lecture

Delaware Valley University Life Sciences Building
700 E Butler Avenue
Doylestown, PA 18901

Arboretum Members - Free
DVU Students - Free
Military - Free
Senior Citizens - $3.00
Non-DVU Students - $3.00
Faculty and Staff - $3.00
Non-members - $5.00