Drawing Pollinators to Your Garden
Pollinators are key to a healthy garden and gardening ecosystem. These little workers help to foster more bright blooms, tasty fruits and vegetables while also creating a buzz (sometimes quite literally) around the garden. Attracting these helpers to your garden is easier than you might think, with a few practical steps and a little springtime planning, you can be on your way to pollinating your garden all summer.
Create a Pollinator Friendly Space
This one seems obvious, of course you will want to make your garden appealing to pollinators like bees and butterflies. However, there are some practical steps to take that will make your garden stand out to pollinators and keep the health of your little backyard ecosystem running smoothly.
The first factor that should be taken into account when attempting to attract pollinators to your garden is the plants you choose to grow in the gardening space. First look for some plants that are native to the area where you are gardening. Bees will naturally be attracted to plants and flowers they already know, and both the pollinator and the plant have naturally evolved next to each other to suit the other's needs.
Bees will naturally be attracted to plants and flowers they already know
Keep Those Pollinators Fed
Secondly, plan on planting some flowering plants that provide an abundance of nectar, think of options like lavender, or thyme, or even raspberry bushes. The vibrant food source for the pollinators near your garden will draw them throughout the summer months and keep the health of your garden steady through the growing months. Remember that variety is key, so plant a handful of different bright colors, sizes, and flower shapes in your garden.
A Home for Bees
Finally keep in mind that your primary pollinators are likely going to be bees. Bees are one of the most common pollinators and they tend to prefer large open faced flowers to land on. Consider planting a few plants that will attract primarily bees to encourage the health of your garden.
Provide Shelter and Nesting
If you really want pollinators to move into your garden, make sure to provide them with a place to stay. Shelter is important for most of these pollinators, who aren’t going to travel long distances repetitively to make it to your garden so make it a little easier on them and they will stick around for good. This task is easily accomplished by having a few bushes or shrubs that provide a larger shelter for these winged pollinators. Likewise consider a water source, like a bird bath to attract and feed the pollinators who are working around your garden.
Shelter is important for most of these pollinators
Extend the Season
To get the most out of your pollinators and keep them happy throughout the year, consider planting some flowers with a staggered blooming season. This might mean having an earlier season bloomer like a wildflower, a mid-season bloom such as bee balm, and a late season bloomer like aster. This variety will keep your pollinators fed throughout the year and will allow them to continue pollinating throughout the spring, summer, and even fall months before leaving for the winter.
While some gardeners need to use some basic pesticides to keep their crop from being overrun by pests, we don’t advise the serious use of pesticides if you are looking to attract pollinators to your garden. Pesticides can often be just as harmful to the pollinators, most of whom happen to be insects, as they can be to the pests in your garden. While some organic solutions might work, try to keep your pesticide use to a minimum through natural means.
Pesticides can often be just as harmful to the pollinators as they can be to the pests in your garden
Creating a great space for pollinators is a simple way to increase the health of your garden. With a little bit of research and planning, finding the perfect plants to draw these little workers into your garden isn’t quite as daunting of a task as it sounds. With all this knowledge, get out there and start creating your own little natural ecosystem with the help of some friendly pollinators!