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Meet Our Community: Beth Stetenfeld, pollinator gardener, naturalist, and Madison Fling co-host

Let’s get to know each other!

Since we’re not able to meet up in person this year, let’s meet online. Every week we’re introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We’re excited to see what everyone’s talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you’d like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)

Beth Stetenfeld

Endangered rusty-patched bumblebee on allium

I absolutely love gardening for pollinators! It’s a thrill to create a native perennial border and see bumblebees covering the blooms, or to grow annuals and perennials from seed and then watch butterflies and hummingbirds feeding on the nectar of the flowers. I’ve been pleased several times in recent years to observe and document for citizen science the presence of the endangered rusty-patched bumblebee in my Madison, Wisconsin, garden.

As a master naturalist and instructor, I focus on how elements of ecosystems fit together. Madison is ecologically diverse, with woodlands, prairies, oak savannas, wetlands, and lakes. It’s surrounded by green spaces, which have been described as “a necklace of green,” and it has 6,431 acres of park space — 13.5% of the total city area! Residential and public gardens add to this treasure. The only problem is that our winters are just a little too long, but that’s a good time to travel.

My favorite plants are the ones that surprise me — either old standbys seen in a new way or new plants discovered for the first time. For example, it’s magical to chance upon downy gentian along the edges of a prairie in its native habitat, with companion prairie plants in bloom and the sun hitting the flowers at a striking angle. New plants discovered while traveling are special too, like Apache plume in Santa Fe or echium in San Diego. It’s fun to learn something new.

October marks the 10th anniversary of my blog, PlantPostings, which is about all kinds of plants and gardening but most often about specifics like plant families, growing conditions, native origins, my experiences with plants, and so on. I consider blogging a conversation. During the past 10 years, I’ve made many online friends with whom I could talk for hours about gardening. It’s been a thrill to meet some of these friends in person through travel and through the Garden Bloggers Fling annual meetup.

I’m serving on the 2021 Garden Bloggers Fling planning committee. After rescheduling Madison Fling because of COVID-19, our new dates are June 24-27, 2021. We’re planning three full days of garden touring, plus an opening event on Thursday afternoon. Details will continue to be posted on the Garden Bloggers Fling website in the weeks ahead. Announcements also appear on the Fling Facebook page.


Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Beth! You can follow Beth at PlantPostings and on her Instagram and Facebook.

Photographs courtesy of Beth Stetenfeld.


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