The Birds and the Bees


Pollinators & Native Gardens’ Exhibit
At St. Louis Public Library Through Aug. 4

By Jen Hatton, St. Louis Public Library

It’s summer time in St. Louis. The birds are singing and the flowers are in bloom. It’s the time of year to spend outside, enjoying the sounds and sights of nature, and exploring and learning new things.

A new exhibit that runs through August 4 at the St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library allows just that.

“The Birds and the Bees: Pollinators & Native Gardens” exhibit highlights the Library’s new pollinator garden and explores the pollination process.

In 2017, SLPL installed Manolo Valdes’ sculpture “Mariposas” (Butterflies) outside of Central Library. The enormous and breathtaking public artwork was installed in three separate pieces by way of a crane over Central’s east terrace wall.

With “Mariposas” in place, Library officials wanted to create an environment that was welcoming to real living butterflies to complement the sculpture. To do so meant reimagining the manicured grass setting that was typical of the sculpture’s previous installations.

The idea for a butterfly garden soon morphed into that of an ecologically responsible, all-native pollinator garden that is as much science as it is art. The garden was installed in the Fall 2018 and features 27 native plant species that are set to bloom throughout the year.

A “pollinator drinking fountain” behind the sculpture uses spritzers and uneven paver stones to provide fresh, untreated water to the pollinators. Additionally, large swaths of the garden are intentionally kept free of mulch to provide ground nesting resources for the pollinators who make the garden their home.

The beautiful and amazing sculpture and pollinator garden are the focus of “The Birds and the Bees: Pollinators & Native Gardens” exhibit. Visitors can tour the exhibit, located on the Second Floor, in the Great Hall at Central Library.

After viewing the exhibit, guest are encouraged to step outside and explore the garden for themselves.

The exhibit is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.
For more information about the exhibit, visit slpl.org.