(3) How to Create a Pollinator Garden:

Things to Consider when Designing your Pollinator Garden:

PLANT FOR YOUR POLLINATORS:
There are many varieties of plants that provide food resources for pollinators but which may have other adverse effects on the local environment. For example, blackberries are great for attracting bees, however, planting the wrong variety, such as the Himalayan blackberry, which is an aggressive space competitor and can quickly become a hazard. Goldenrod, which is a beautiful flower that attracts many pollinators, produces thousands of seeds and creates a network of rhizomes, which allows it to spread really, really fast, out competing the local flora. These are examples of how introduced species (not native to the area) can pose a threat to your local environment, by becoming invasive. It is always best to plant native species and take pride in supporting your local ecosystems!

SOURCING NATIVE SEEDS:
It is really important to get your seeds/seedlings from local sources.
Ordering seeds from large companies, can lead to unintentional introductions of non-native species and weeds.
Generally a simple google search including your town and 'native seeds' will turn up a couple of nurseries that provide local wildflower seeds. you can also go into your local garden center and ask their advice.
Want to try collecting your own native flower seeds? here is a guide to help you start: https://www.growwilduk.com/wildflowers/how-grow-wildflowers/seed-saving

ATTRACTING POLLINATORS TO YOUR GARDEN:
Make sure that when you plant, there is more than just one flower of each species. Pollinators are attracted to spaces where they are able to do some serious foraging before having to move on. Give them this opportunity by planting multiples of each plant you have selected. A diversity of plants is still necessary, but quantity of each species should be important too!

PLANTING YEAR-ROUND POLLINATOR GARDENS:
Include a variety of plants whose bloom-time spans from early spring to late fall to ensure the availability of habitat and food sources throughout the growing season. You can also plant species that support pollinators throughout their life cycle, including larval host plants and food plants (eg. milkweed for monarch butterflies, as well as nectar plants for the adults).

WINDBREAKS and SHELTER:
Strong winds may discourage pollinators from visiting your garden. When planning your garden, you can keep this in mind, perhaps planting near a building, a fence, a wall or a hedge, may help to mitigate the wind felt by the visitors to your pollinator garden. Hedges and Trees also provide sheltering habitat for pollinators to hide from weather extremes.

EXPOSURE:
Something to consider when planning your garden is how much direct sunlight your garden will get. This is important in planning the plant composition as well as in thinking about the pollinators who will eventually visit. For example, if your butterfly plants are tucked away in a dark corner, they are less likely to be visited than if the beautiful insects can perch in the sun while enjoying their feast.

WATER:
Insects do a lot of hard work in a day! They need fresh water to drink, but most can't land in open water without risk of drowning. When planning your pollinator garden, include a shallow water source with semi-submerged platforms (flat stones, broken pottery, etc.) at or near ground level, tends to work best!

NESTING HABITAT:
Think about what your bees and other bugs need for overwintering and nesting. Leaving some spare ground for burrowing bees, not clearing leaf litter and dead-wood, leaving the hollow stalks of flowers, restricting mowing to used portions of your yard and letting the rest grow, these are some of the things that can provide sanctuary to the pollinators that use your garden. If you are looking to do more, you can also build a pollinator hotel which when maintained properly, can provide good nesting habitat for a variety of bees and other positive insects.

GENERAL REFERENCES:
On Pollinators
https://www.pollinator.org/pollinators
https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&context=cate
On Invasive Species
https://www.pollinator.org/pollinator.org/assets/generalFiles/NAPPC-Invasive-Species-Fact-Sheet.pdf
About Planting and Caring for Native Gardens
https://cwf-fcf.org/en/resources/DIY/habitat-projects/map-your-backyard/create-a-wildflower-garden.html
https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/create-pollinator-friendly-garden-birds-bees-butterflies/
http://cwf-fcf.org/en/resources/DIY/habitat-projects/map-your-backyard/plant-for-bees-butterflies.html
https://www.canr.msu.edu/publications/how_to_protect_and_increase_pollinators_in_your_landscape
https://savvygardening.com/6-reasons-not-to-clean-up-your-garden-this-fall/
https://cwf-fcf.org/en/explore/gardening-for-wildlife/plants/buy/medallion/

Posted by larafalkiner larafalkiner, March 03, 2020 19:52

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