If you’re into gardening or just being out in nature, chances are, you enjoy flowers! Their vibrant colors, textured foliage and sweet fragrances are pleasing. In fact, it’s not just flowers that you like by many other plants including fruits and vegetables!
Without pollinators like birds, bats, bees, butterflies, moths and other insects, these beautiful, enriching parts of our lives would not exist. In fact, 80% of our food that we eat is made possible by pollinators. Not only would the beauty of the world start to fade, but so would our ability to eat.
Pollinator populations have been in decline since 2006 and studies have shown that beekeepers have lost 30%+ of their hives annually since then! Surveys and citizen science projects have also shown a decline in other species. This decline could be because of habitat loss (lack of nesting sites and wildflower destruction), increased pesticide usage, and parasites.
Fortunately, there are some easy things that we can do to help bolster their populations! Whether you’re in an urban or rural setting, you can plant a pollinator garden. For urban sites, think about using raised beds, containers, and trellises to use vertical, rather than horizontal, space. In rural areas, consider naturalizing your yard or portions of it and allowing wildflowers to grow.
A pollinator garden is a wonderful thing to have. It adds beauty, dimension, and fragrance to the garden, and it’s easy to create! A pollinator garden should include plants that provide nectar and pollen, water, sun, windbreakers, native plants (or at least non-invasives), blooms throughout the entire growing season, and lack harsh chemical pesticides.
A pollinator garden should include at least some natives. These plants are not only adapted to your local climate and therefore are easy to maintain, but have co-evolved with the pollinators that will be coming to your yard! For a list of natives in your region, click here.
Another good tip is to use things other than flowers to feed these pollinators. Put up hummingbird feeders, bird seed, and butterfly feeders (old fruit like bananas or oranges will attract them and salt will provide them with valuable minerals).
Always ensure that there’s habitat for these pollinators to make a home in this garden. Add larval plants for butterflies to lay their eggs on and create a bee house by drilling some holes into a fallen log.
Once you’ve created your garden, or are in the process of it – add your name to the list of Pollinator Gardeners and sign the pledge saying that you’ll help boost this at risk population! You’ll be surprised how many others are doing the same.
Interested in bringing the beauty of the garden inside? Click here to purchase any one of these photos!