The term pollinator includes a variety of critters such as bees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, birds and even bats. All play a critical role in maintaining healthy gardens and the larger ecosystem however due to the alarming decline in their populations there is an urgent need to create habitats that support all pollinators, but especially bees. In our designs we often use Pacific Lowland native plants to encourage healthy pollinator populations and this not only enhances pollination but also supports other beneficial insects which keep pests in check. To make your garden as pollinator friendly as possible, keep the following tips in mind.
Native plants adapted to our region are also best suited to support native pollinators. Choosing unique cultivars of your favorite plants may be exciting, but keep in mind that these sometimes can’t be used by pollinators and they may be sterile. It is also important to check if any of the plants you plan on using are invasive in your area.
Nectar from flowers sustains many pollinators by providing a rich source of sugar and amino acids. One way of increasing this accessibility is to plant in groups. This maximizes pollinator efficiency and increases same-species pollination. Nectar is needed for these little guys year-round, so try to choose a variety of plants that will bloom from early-spring through late-fall.
Using a variety of canopy layers such as trees, shrubs and ground covers not only makes for a good garden design but also creates habitat for the greatest number of pollinators. Additionally, leave excess leaf litter and dead branches if possible. Lawn edges are also a place for improvement by similarly allowing leaf litter, dead wood and small bare spots to exist for insects and ground-nesting bees.
Not sure if this would align with your aesthetics? Not to worry! We create and install bee boxes! Nestle this little box into the corner of your garden to seamlessly blend in and provide a cozy home for pollinators.
Lastly, strive to eliminate all pesticide use!
There are many biologically friendly ways to maintain a healthy and balanced landscape, which is why we never use pesticides. For more information on our natural approach give us a call at 206-551-9872.