This year, the Kansas State Fair is home to four different Pollinator Gardens throughout the fairgrounds.
The original Pollinator Garden is located by the Gate 5 entrance and the Little Red Schoolhouse. Notice the butterfly houses, insect hotel and rotting logs. They house, protect from weather and predators, and act as a safe place to lay eggs or larvae for many pollinators.
Outside of the Education Center is another garden, filled with the milkweed plant to attract the Monarch butterfly. Milkweed is the ONLY plant the Monarch caterpillar will eat and it provides all the nourishment the Monarch needs to transform into an adult butterfly. This makes the milkweed plant vital to the survival of Monarch butterflies.
Over by the Pride of Kansas buliding, lies the pollinator garden that is home to the Kansas State flower, the sunflower. Here at the Kansas State Fair, we "Celebrate all things Kansas" and several types of sunflowers are represented in this area.
Near Lake Talbott sits the Native Kansas Flint Hills Pollinator Garden, the last sizable remnant of a tallgrass prairie that once stretched across a vast swath of North America. All of the plants in this garden are native to the Flint Hills and are the perfect combination of grasses and wildflowers to host pollinators.
The plants in these areas have been chosen to attract a wide variety of pollinators including bees, butterflies, moths & birds. Pollination is how flowering plants reproduce. Pollination involves the transfer of pollen from male to female parts of the flowers. Wind, water, and animals help this transfer happen.
Pollinators are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. Foods such as grapes, apples, raspberries, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, nuts, cotton, alfalfa, coffee and even chocolate!
Pollinators also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce. Trees, shrubs and wildflowers all depend on pollinators for survival.
Take a moment to enjoy the gardens. Look closely for the many creatures that find food and shelter among the flowers. How many insects and animals do you see? Observe which plants and flowers they seem to like best.
Some of the plants and flowers planted in our garden are:
Purple Dome Aster
Dropmore Scarlet Honeysuckle
Gateway Joe Pye Weed
Blue Fortune Hyssop
Blue Spire Sage Russian
Magnus Cornflower Purple
Goldstrum Black Eyed Susan
Sergeant Crabapple Tree
Gold Fame Honeysuckle
Blue Fortune Hyssop
Forest Fire Salvia