Pollinators praised at gardening workshop

Steve and Martha Ellis will describe the amazing life of pollinators March 19 at the Whidbey Gardening Workshop.  - Courtesy photo
Steve and Martha Ellis will describe the amazing life of pollinators March 19 at the Whidbey Gardening Workshop.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

 With honey bees under siege from exotic mites, colony collapse disorder and other maladies our pollinators need all they help they can get. And our gardens and food supply need their help more than ever. At the Whidbey Gardening Workshop learn what you can do to attract and sustain native pollinators. The workshop is Saturday, March 19 at Coupeville High School.

Steve and Martha Ellis will illustrate the amazing lives of pollinators. They’ll identify those native to our region. In the two classes they offer,  “In Praise of Native Pollinators” and “Birds and Butterflies in the Garden,” the couple will describe pollinators’ life cycles and what they pollinate. A big part of the classes will be devoted to learning what you can do to help these essential creatures. Find out what to plant to provide a steady supply of pollen and nectar. Steve and Martha Ellis are naturalists living on Whidbey Island. Steve is the president of Whidbey Audubon Society and Martha is a member of the Washington Native Plant Society.

In her class “Good Bugs in the Garden,” Master Gardener Marcia Nelson will instruct workshop participants in nurturing helpful insects. “My goal,” she said, “is to help people become more observant and aware of beneficial insects and to provide alternatives to the use of pesticides.”

And to deepen your knowledge of pollinating bees, the workshop presents, “Get the Buzz About Bees: An Introduction to Beekeeping” with David Neel and “Honey Bee Biology” with Dr. Tim Lawrence. David Neel is a commercial beekeeper. Tim Lawrence is the Washington State University Extension Director for Island County.

The Whidbey Gardening Workshop offers more than 55 classes from “Gardening 101: The Good Earth” to “Eating From Your Garden Year Round.” This year’s keynote speaker is the Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr, whose talk will draw from his new book, “Growing at the Speed of Life.”

For a complete list of classes and to register online go to To register by mail, call 360- 240-5527. The cost is $35 and a box lunch is available for $8. The Whidbey Gardening Workshop is a program of the Master Gardeners of Island County.


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