Feed the hand that feeds us
How to Build a Pollinators Garden
Building a pollinator garden is a great way to help our pollinators thrive. The instructions below include a variety of methods for attracting these birds, bees, and other critters to your garden. Take what works for you and don’t worry if you can’t do everything. Whether you have a small deck garden or a large backyard garden, be assured you too can take part in this effort and enjoy the presence of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
- Soil, either via the ground or in containers
- Sun and water
- A ceramic bowl or clay pot
- Twigs, sticks and/or old branches and logs; and twine or some type of rope
- Native pollinator plants
- Trowel, shovel and other garden tools
Creating the Garden in Three Easy Steps
Choose an area of your deck or yard where the plants will get the best sunlight.
Acquire a diverse array of plants. Different plants attract different pollinators, so choose plants of various shapes, sizes and colors. Native plants are preferable because they attract native pollinators. (See: Plants Pollinators Love below).
Pick plants that bloom at different times of the year. For instance, sunflowers bloom in the summer and asters will bloom in the fall. Planting this way provides pollinators with a plentiful supply of food as they prepare for the winter.
When planting your garden, plant in small clumps, as opposed to planting a single plant alone. This helps pollinators find the food source.
Water your newly planted flowers and bulbs thoroughly to help them get settled into their new home.
Mulching is a great way to reduce the growth of weeds. You can either lay down newspaper (which will biodegrade) and place wood chips or other mulch on top of it, or stick to regular mulch.
Create nesting sites. You can provide insects with a nesting site by collecting twigs, sticks, and small branches. Tie the bundle together with twine or rope and place out in your garden.
Provide butterflies with a drinking fountain. It’s not so much of a fountain, but it provides drinking water and important nutrients for butterflies. If you have a ceramic bowl or clay pot, fill it with mud and place it out in your garden. The mud contains salt and minerals that the butterflies need to reproduce.
Rocks are another butterfly attractor, providing a warm place for them to land and rest.
Make sure to pull weeds regularly, remove dead leaves and prune plants to encourage new growth and new blooms.
Eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides as these can have a harmful and even deadly affect on pollinators.
Plants Pollinators Love
Bees - Lemon Queen Sunflowers, Bee balm, Cosmos, Rosemary, Tickseed, Purple coneflower, Aster, Black-eyed Susan, Goldenrod, Huckleberry, Lupine, Oregon grape, Sage, Wild buckwheat, Wild lilac, Basil, English lavender, Hyssop, Zinnia
Hummingbirds - CA Buckeye, Lily, Wild lilac (ceanothus), Columbine, Madden, Native thistle, Monkey flower, Snapdragon, CA Fuchsia, Penstemon, Honeysuckle, Black and white sages, Yucca, Azalea
Butterflies - Yarrow, Dill, Snapdragon, Milkweed, Aster, Mum, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Fennel, Sunflower, Sweet pea, Broccoli, Cabbage, Nasturtium, Lupine, Lavender, Lemon mint, Marjoram, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley, Dill, Phlox, Mexican hat, Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, Zinnia, Goldenrod, Nettle, Marguerite
Other - View the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign chart of pollinators and the plant colors, odors and shapes they are attracted to: http://www.pollinator.org/Resources/Pollinator_Syndromes.pdf.
To download the free 24 page, Pollinator Friendly Planting guide specific to your U.S.A. region, visit: http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm.
For another resource on building a butterfly garden, visit Pollinators.org here: http://www.pollinator.org/Resources/How%20to%20Build%20a%20Pollinator%20Garden.pdf
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