Building a Pollinator Garden

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.

Redbuds, Whitebuds

Redbud

Redbuds are an attractive native tree that blooms in early spring alongside dogwoods. They are quite showy with fuschia colored flowers displayed tightly against the branches in late April or early May. Cercis canadensis is the most common species and is a Maryland native.  There are several non-native varieties and hybrids that are also available. All Cercis have distinctive cordate (heart-shaped) leaveswith that turn bright yellow in the autumn. Read more

A Native Beauty

Pink Flowering Dogwood

The species Cornus florida, Flowering Dogwood, is one of the most recognizable and beloved of all our native early flowering trees.  The large showy bracts (commonly called showy flowers) are impressive in April as they brighten wooded edges and home landscapes. Keeping track of the many cultivars can be daunting as hundreds exist. Read more