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  • Chris Belcher

Hardberger Park held Pollinators in the Garden Event

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Phil Hardberger Park had the Pollinators in the Garden event October 2 in its Native Plant Wildscape Demonstration Garden to educate San Antonio residents about pollinators and native plants.

Wildscaping is a way of designing your home’s landscape to attract and benefit wildlife, especially birds and butterflies, by providing the required food, water, and shelter,” according to the Native Plant Society of Texas.

San Antonio residents explore the Phil Hardberger Park Native Plant Wildscape Demonstration Garden October 2. Photo: Chris Belcher

David Jimenez, Phil Hardberger Park Education Coordinator, talked about why it was important to use native plants in gardens.

“Native plants are less water dependent, water heavy because this is the natural environment that they thrive in, that they are evolved to live in,” Jimenez said. “If you bring a non-native species into your garden, there’s the potential that it could be invasive and spread uncontrollably. But also, it reduces the available food sources for animals.”

A Queen Butterfly collects nectar from a flower in the Native Plant Wildscape Demonstration Garden. Photo: Chris Belcher

The butterflies, bees and birds play an important role in pollinating native plants when they visit a flower for nectar.

Jimenez said, “when a butterfly or bumblebee visits a flower and they drink from the nectar which sustains them their body parts, their hair, their sticky pads collect the pollen and when they visit the next flower for their next meal, they move that pollen and help the flowers reproduce. Without that pollination the flowers would not then bear fruit and seed to propagate their species. A lot of animals depend on that pollination for the fruit and seeds they consume.”

Wendy Leonard, Phil Hardberger Park Supervisor was also there to talk about honeybees. Bees are one of the pollinators found in the garden.

“The honeybees go through a development that is fairly similar to what butterflies go through,” Leonard said.

She stated there are three types of bees that can be found in a hive, the queen, female worker bees, and drones. The majority are female worker bees.

“What’s really cool about the worker bees is that their job depends on their age. So, everybody in the hive has a job. And when the bees first hatch out, they tend to the developing bees they’re called the nurse bees,” Leonard said. “As the bee ages each bee’s job changes. The oldest bees that you see are the bees you see out foraging for nectar, that you see on the flowers. Those are the oldest bees in the hive.”

A hive tool, brush, honeycomb and fake honeybees on display at Pollinators in the Garden in Hardberger Park October 2. Photo: Chris Belcher

Leonard also had some of the tools used by beekeepers such as the smoker, a hive tool, and a brush. The smoke helps keep the bees calm while the beekeeper is going into a hive. The hive tool is used for prying away at propolis or bee glue. The last tool she explained was the brush which is used to keep bees from getting crushed by the frames when they’re being taken out or put back into the hive.

Jimenez discussed why Phil Hardberger Park hosts events such as Pollinators in the Garden.

“We host events like this to bridge the gap between the public and the nature that exists around them. Phil Hardberger Park is a San Antonio Natural Area, and it provides an opportunity to engage with nature. This is introductory information, but it opens the door for people to learn more, to plant things in their garden at home, to enjoy a natural area that’s great for your mind and your brain. We try to offer that opportunity for folks in the communities around us,” he said.

Interested San Antonio residents can get more information about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities from Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy or Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy | Facebook. San Antonians interested in resources for native plants can find more information at TPWD: Wildscapes (

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