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Rattlesnake master has a pollenator useful to gardeners

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If you want to have a huge variety of insects to watch in your pollinator garden, add the slightly strange native rattlesnake master. Visit the Xerces society and search for Eryngium yuccafolium – from butterflies to bees, beetles to flies – all flock to the small white inflorescences. But then another exciting group comes in --- predatory wasps who capture insects to line soil cavities or stems as paralyzed. but living food for their young. Most are solitary wasps who are not especially aggressive to us so don’t feel like you are creating a danger zone by planting this late flowering perennial native in your yard. Flower stalks are four feet or so and look best when surrounded by shorter grasses or perhaps coneflowers that keep their structures after flowering and whose seed heads provide winter food for birds.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.