If you want something done, as your parents would often say, you should just do it yourself. You might also be surprised to find out that your parents had the solution to our declining bee population! Nobody is entirely certain about what’s causing this decline, but the movement towards pollinator gardens has been gathering steam and we think it’s a great way to help turn things around.
The idea behind a pollinator garden is to provide the perfect habitat to support pollinators like bees, butterflies, birds, and bats that help spread pollen from flower to flower. Not only do you get to enjoy the vibrant color of your native wildflowers, you’re making a personal connection between the environment and the healthy foods that we eat.
You don’t even need to be terribly eco-savvy to create one of these bee-friendly habitats. You’ll want to do a bit of research so you can ensure that your garden provides the dining options that are most suitable for your local pollinators. Once you’ve done the research, just follow a few guidelines and you’ll be ready for a whole new category of flower-friendly visitors.
Use native plants that bloom from spring until fall. Try to avoid modern “doubled” flowers that are often genetically modified to produce bright blooms while leaving out the scents, pollens, and nectars that make these plants so attractive to pollinators.
Bug-friendly is a must!
Limit your use of pesticides. When necessary, try to use the least aggressive products you can find. You’ll need to get good at reading labels, because many pesticides are harmful to bees. If you do need to use pesticides, try to use them at night when most pollinators aren’t active.
Be easy to find
Help pollinators find and use them by planting in clumps, rather than single plants. Include plants native to your region. Natives are adapted to your local climate, soil and to your friendly neighborhood pollinators. Don’t forget that night-blooming flowers will support moths and bats.
Munchies are a way of life
Caterpillars gotta eat too. Moths and butterflies are pollinators too, but before they’re helping out the flowers they’re going to start out life as leaf-nibbling caterpillars. Their menu often includes plants that aren’t terribly attractive, and in some cases they prefer weeds! If you don’t want to see a lot of leaf damage, be sure to plant their favorite food sources toward the back of the garden so they can chew out of sight.
Add a dash of seasoning
Salt licks aren’t just for horses. Bees and butterflies enjoy a bit of salt in their diet too. You can add a bit of sea salt or wood ashes to the soil just below a soaker hose or dripping faucet. This damp, salty area is going to help them get the nutrients they need to keep on working.
Your pollinator garden can be as big or as small as you like. We’ve seen flower pot gardens on an apartment balcony and multi-acre properties turned over to blooming native plants. What’s important is that you do what you can to help keep our pollinators going. Remember when we said that research was important? Be sure to start investigating government grants, because there are programs designed to help homeowners and developers offset the cost of creating pollinator gardens.
Red Valley Landscaping is ready to help you create the kind of pollinator garden that will have the neighbors buzzing. If you’re ready to make a positive impact on your home and the environment, then give us a call and let’s talk about what we can do together to make your space into a key player in the local ecosystem.
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