The Birds & the Bees (& the Butterflies)

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It’s time to talk about the birds and the bees (and the butterflies).

Around this time every year, one of my big summer treats is to hang out in my back yard and watch how my garden is helping pollinators. It gives me a warm feeling – and not just from the sun on my back. Seeing those visits from my flying friends lets me know 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 strategic garden planning can help Mother Earth by providing a friendly place for pollinators. If you are wondering what you can do to attract the birds and insects, here are some suggestions:

  • Bird feeders. Suet, seed and sugar water keep my backyard filled with beautiful birds. We also have a water feature with running water that the birds seem to love. (I’d like to think that if birds had a Michelin guide, my yard would get three stars and comments like: “Excellent food selection, plus a bird jacuzzi!”)  
  • 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, stop by the nursery or give us a call; we’d be happy to help.

Happy Gardening,
Misti Warner-Andersen