Understanding a Pollinator Garden and How to Set it Up
A pollinator garden is a garden that is planted with flowers with an aim of providing pollen or nectar to the wide range of pollinators. Pollinators are insects such as bees, butterflies, moths, and wasps among others that transfer pollen to flowers of similar species for fertilization to take place. Some plants and flowers are wind pollinated.
A pollinator garden can be any size from a small yard or balcony to a large backyard. The aim is to plant as many pollinator friendly plants as possible. Most pollinators exploit flowers of particular sizes and shapes. Therefore, your garden must boost pollinator diversity.
How to create a pollinator garden
The color and scent of flowers is what attracts pollinators. Thus, you should design a garden that harbors blooming plants continuously from spring to fall. This ensures that your garden sustains a wide range of pollinators that have different flower preferences and hunting habits. Brightly colored flowers attract pollinators during the day while their alluring fragrances attract pollinators during the night.
Determine the plants to grow: though it is advisable to plant as many plants as possible, it is best to invest in native plants. Pollinators are not active in pesticide-prone gardens. Thus, to avoid using chemicals and damaging pesticides, plant native flowers that will grow naturally without relying on additional nutrients that must be bought. Moreover, they adapt easily to your areas climate and are capable of attracting pollinator’s needs as compared to non-native plants. A few pollinator attracting flowers include; zinna, mint, cosmos, verbena, bee balm, honeysuckle, lavender, lupine, sunflower, and sage.
Encourage pollinators to visit your garden: just like humans, pollinators thrive on food and shelter. Thus, you must provide these basic needs to attract them to your garden. Though adult pollinators feed on flower nectar, their larval stage relies on plant leaves, thus, partition your garden to include weeds, wild grasses, and wildflowers like milkweed that larval can feed on. Additionally, some pollinators like butterflies rely on water for survival. Design a few mud puddles and shallow pools. Bees and wasps also use mud to build their homes.
Avoid herbicides and pesticides
Herbicides may damage useful weeds that are used by pollinators as a source of food while pesticides are harmful to pollinators. If you have to controls pests in your pollinator garden, use homemade remedies like garlic spray that cannot destroy pollinators. Moreover, use them at sunset when pollinator are done making rounds in the garden.
Maintain the garden: prune regularly to remove dead plant materials like branches, flowers and leaves to create room for new plants to grow. Water new plants frequently for them to thrive and develop strong roots. During summer, consider deep watering method.
You do not have to be an ecology enthusiast to create a pollinator garden. You can transform your landscape into a pollinator garden or create one from scratch. With the above guideline, all you need is dedication and commitment until the garden matures. A pollinator garden benefits you and your community in maintaining native plant species that may be running to extinction.