by J. Russell
Pollinators are in decline and need our help. They are incredibly important as they are responsible for nearly 80% of the world’s flowering plants which translates into the production of fruits, nuts, and berries. Creating a pollinator garden is simple and will add long-lasting beauty to your outdoor living space. Here’s how to get started.
Choose the proper location – Many flowering plants that attract pollinators prefer a sunny spot. Try to pick a location that gets 4-6 hours of direct sun daily. An area protected from wind will be more inviting to pollinators and help young plants get established.
Amend the soil – Lighten heavy clay soil with amendments such as humus and peat moss. This will ensure the area drains properly and plants will thrive. Products like Leaf Gro, and other composts, will also add nutrients essential to plant health.
Select your plants – We carry a wide variety of perennials that will be irresistible to bees and butterflies. Some to consider are milkweed, phlox, candytuft, peony, salvia, coreopsis, coneflower, black-eyed susan, shasta daisy, daylily, joe pye weed, solidago, and lobelia.
Create a habitat – Adding a birdbath or fountain will offer a water source for pollinators and make the area more enticing. Another great way to encourage pollinators is to provide nesting sites. Consider incorporating bee houses, rock piles, piles of sticks or dead wood, perennial grasses, or simply leaving some areas bare.
Feed the caterpillars – Monarch caterpillars only feed on milkweed and use it to lay their eggs so be sure to include this plant in your garden. Add fennel, parsley, and dill to give other caterpillars something to eat. They will eventually return to your garden as moths and butterflies!
Limit use of pesticides – It is generally recommended to never use pesticides or herbicides in or near pollinator gardens. A good way to help avoid the need for these harmful chemicals is to plant natives.