One of my big summer treats is getting a chance to just hang out in my back yard and see how my garden is helping the birds, bees and butterflies. It gives me a warm feeling – and not just from the sun on my back. Seeing my pollinator-friendly garden being visited by my flying friends is proof that I’m helping out our local eco system.
Did you know that more than 85 percent of the Earth’s plants need pollinators to exist? That translates into about a third of the food you eat being made possible by bees and other pollinators. (This skyrockets when you think about summer treats like blueberries and cherries, which are 90% dependent on honeybees when they bloom.)
Besides bringing buzz and birdsong into your yard, your garden can help Mother Earth by providing a friendly place for pollinators, which have been struggling in recent years. Most of us have heard about bee colony collapse and anything you do in your garden to help bees ultimately helps us all.
If you are wondering what you can do to attract the birds and insects, here are some suggestions.
- Bird feeders. Nothing says “come on by” better than free food. Suet, seed and sugar water keep my backyard filled with beautiful birds. I also have a water feature with running water that the birds seem to love – I like to think of it as a jacuzzi for my feathered friends.
- Layered plantings. By layering your plants, you give little critters more safe spaces from creatures that might prey on them. It also allows them to go from plant to plant without expending too much energy.
- Give them variety. Choose a variety of plants that will bloom in rotation throughout the growing season and make sure they have different colors, shapes and sizes as different pollinators prefer different types of plants.
- Pollinators favorites. My garden is full of Dianthus, Catmint, and Monarda. Other choices popular with the pollinator set are (from a to z): Asters, Basil, Black-eyed Susan, Caryopteris, English Lavender, Globe Thistle, Goldenrod, Honeysuckle, Marjoram, Purple Coneflower, Rhododendron, Rosemary, Sage, Snowberry, Sunflower, Trumpet Vine, Wild Lilac and Zinnia.
If you have any questions about setting your garden abuzz this summer and making it a home for our oh-so-important pollinators, check out our Root Camp class on pollinators on July 10. You can also stop by the nursery or give us a call; we’d be happy to help.