Spring is here, and many of us are finally starting to plan out our gardens! If you’re looking to switch things up this year, you could try planting a pollinator garden. Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are so important, since they sustain our ecosystems and help plants reproduce. So why not make your garden a pollinator’s paradise? Read on for tips to create a pollinator-friendly garden!
- Don’t keep your garden too tidy! Pollinators don’t like perfectly manicured yards. Leave some areas a little wilder to attract pollinators to your garden. Leaving twigs or some leaves unraked is actually beneficial for some pollinators!
- Certain colours attract certain pollinators. To attract hummingbirds, use lots of red and bright pinks in your garden! Perennials like red and purple hollyhocks, pink or red coral bells, bee balm, and summer phlox are great. Annuals that attract hummingbirds include brightly-coloured petunias, geraniums, begonias, and cosmos. Shrubs and vines like hibiscus, honeysuckle, and flowering currants also work well. To attract bees, use flowers in shades of blue, purple, violet, yellow, and white.
- Have less grass! “Re-wilding” some parts of your yard is great for pollinators too!
- Plant sunflowers! Bees and butterflies both love sunflowers. There are many varieties of sunflowers to choose from! You can choose dwarf varieties if you prefer not to have tall sunflowers in your garden.
- Plant an herb garden or patch! Bees and butterflies also like many herbs, such as lavender, sage, lemon balm, dill, parsley, and oregano.
- Have a variety of plants that flower at different times, from spring through to fall. This ensures that pollinators will always be attracted to your yard!
- If you’d like to see more butterflies, you can try planting butterfly “host plants” in your garden. These plants are where adult butterflies can lay their eggs. Different host plants will attract different butterflies. One of the most well-known host plants is milkweed (common, swamp, and butterfly varieties) which is known for attracting monarchs!
- Plant “nectar plants” to attract butterflies! Some native nectar plants include black-eyed Susan, wild strawberry, evening primrose, wild columbine, and New England asters.
If you’d like to learn more about pollinator gardens including plant lists, pollinator garden tips, and where to buy plants and seeds, check out the Pollinator’s Paradise Project at https://www.hamiltonpollinatorparadise.org/. There are many other pollinator projects throughout the province as well! See what’s happening in your area!
Do you have a pollinator garden? What do you do to attract pollinators to your garden? We’d love to hear your tips and experiences!
By Kate at FWIO