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Garden for Pollinators
Pat Sziber

An alarming article in the New York Times in February 2016 highlighted the threat to the world food supply brought on by the decline in populations of pollinators including bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles, bats and birds. The article states “Plants that depend on pollination make up 35 percent of global crop production volume…” Animals and insects pollinate roughly 85 percent of all plant species worldwide! Among the causes of the decline are pesticides, parasites, pathogens, climate change and intensive agricultural practices that eliminate patches of plants that provide food for pollinators. This is where you come in!

Join the growing movement which encourages property owners to landscape with pollinator-friendly plants, replace lawn areas with wildflower meadows, and eliminate pesticides from their gardening practices. Even a small corner of a flower garden dedicated to native flowering plants can become a magnet for honeybees, native bees, butterflies and moths. The diversity of pollinators is amazing—there are 4,000 bee species native to North America and dozens of these occur locally.

Your pollinator garden should be a mix of native plant species that will be in bloom throughout summer and fall when the pollinators are busy storing food. Maybe your favorite garden center has a section for native plants favored by pollinators. Donít hesitate to ask! Try for a mix of colors and bloom times. Butterfly Weed (not butterfly bush), Bee Balm, Swamp Milkweed, Common St. Johnís Wort, Hairy Beardtongue, Stiff Goldenrod, Black-eyed Susan, Joe Pye Weed, New York Ironweed, Cardinal Flower (a favorite of hummingbirds), White Heath Aster, New England Aster—this assortment would provide blooms that span the pollinator season.

A few excellent information resources online:
       The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, www.xerces.org;
       Pollinator Partnership, www.pollinator.org; and
       Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, www.wildflower.org.

Bonus tip: Pollinators will come to a birdbath, so set a small rock or stick in the water to help them along.





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Last revision: Sunday, February 7, 2016