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Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Altadena Pollinator Palooza Extravaganza to Give Away Native Wildflower Seeds, Including Native Milkweed
A special free grassroots event in Altadena this Saturday, Jan. 21 will bring together multiple organizations to provide education and free seeds so that LA County residents can create their own pollinator friendly gardens — with free California-native milkweed (the host plant for struggling Monarch butterflies) at the forefront.
Open to all, the event will be hosted by the Altadena Community Garden from 10 am until 3 pm. The free event is produced and presented as a public service by Altadena Maid Products, a local wildflower seed company,
In addition to the free seed giveaway, the Altadena Rotary Club will be sponsoring a “tropical-milkweed trade-in” feature, where the first one hundred people who bring in a tropical milkweed plant will receive, free of charge, a special pack of Altadena Maid’s seedbark containing over 100 native-milkweed seeds.
Such tropical milkweed, commonly sold by “big box” stores, stays green all year, and can be identified, in part, by its small yellow or yellow/red flowers. Once seen as a way to help Monarchs, tropical milkweed was rated a noxious pest by the California Department of Food and Agriculture earlier this year, its sale has been banned in several California counties, and its removal is now encouraged by pollinator organizations. Doug Colliflower, president of the Altadena Rotary Club, said, “The environment is one of Rotary International’s primary areas of focus, and we’re proud to be actively engaged in efforts to support pollinators.”
Among the many groups participating will be the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association. “Bees are fascinating and wonderful creatures who do so much for our planet – yet, due to human actions, they are severely stressed,” according to Altadena resident Mary Landau, the group’s education chair. “We hope that folks will come out and learn the very easy ways that they can help bees and other essential pollinators.”
Lois Brunet, executive director of the Pasadena Audubon Society, spoke for other pollinators. “Did you know that hummingbirds and orioles play an important role in pollinating our plants? In the LA area, we are blessed with 6 different hummingbird species and 3 oriole species. Come visit the Pasadena Audubon table to learn more about these beautiful pollinators!”
The event is intended to provide entertainment (with live music, games, and pollinator selfie photowalls) and education (with presentations from different groups), and to provide residents with enough free native-milkweed seeds to plant hundreds of thousands of native plants — along with more than one million native wildflowers to support other pollinators — all in a family-friendly, upbeat event.
Those who appear in a pollinator costume will receive a special gift bag, and will be entered in a pollinator costume contest to win a grand prize.
In its early days, Altadena was marketed across the country as a wildflower haven, where wildflowers were picked in what was still the middle of the winter for much of the country. “It’d be great to see our community once again become a hub of drought-tolerant native wildflowers and plants,” said René Amy, the owner of Altadena Maid Products, and the event organizer and sponsor. “Giving away so many seeds is one way to help that process along — and it’s really time to do everything we can to help pollinators!”
With Southern California seeing near-record rainfall this year, it’s widely expected that the area will experience a “superbloom” this year. “This is the perfect way for folks to experience the joy of wildflowers, and to see just how easy they are to plant and maintain. They need very little water beyond rainfall, and can provide year-round support support for pollinators of all sorts,” said Amy.
According to Amy, in its early days, Altadena was marketed across the country as a wildflower haven, where wildflowers were picked in what was still the middle of the winter for much of the country. “It’d be great to see our community once again become a hub of drought-tolerant native wildflowers and plants!”
“Bottom line, the idea is to make it incredibly easy for anyone and everyone to help pollinators. Just taking a few seconds to spread these free seeds can help all sorts of amazing creatures make our planet a better place to live. Folks want to make a difference, and this is about as easy a way as possible!”
In addition to the Garden, the Beekeepers, the Altadena Rotary Club, and the Pasadena Audubon Society, confirmed participating organizations include Amigos de los Rios, the Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy, Rotary International’s Operation Pollination, the Pasadena Sierra Club, and the Lincoln Avenue Water Company.
The Altadena Community Garden is located at 3330 N. Lincoln Ave, Altadena, within LA County Department of Parks & Recreation’s Loma Alta Park, and the event will be held rain or shine.
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