Let's talk about pollinators. June is National Pollinators Month! It’s no wonder because the sun is out and so are the bees and the butterflies! If you have the right ecosystem set up on your deck or in your backyard – you’ll see plenty of pollinators. Let’s dive into how you create a healthy, balanced ecosystem with pollinator plants that attracts wildlife and helps to build a sustainable garden that flourishes throughout the year.
In the video below we talk about pollinator plants and the bigger picture of creating a space where our gardens can support the natural ecosystem. A lot of us want to do this to be more sustainable and there's so many easy ways to do it - pollinator plants can play a key role.
We have all kinds of traditional pollinators that are drawn to our pollinator plants. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds get a lot of attention. They love the blooms that pollinator plants bring. But there's so many more than the common pollinators we all know about. And this can cause confusion. It can be very hard sometimes to tell a good bug from a bad bug. Let’s talk about how beneficial it is to have a variety of insects in your garden – insects, animals, arachnids, all of them! A balanced ecosystem plays a vital part in making it easier for you to grow. When you plant lots of pollinator plants, it allows you to let nature take care of the dirty work for you. You may have seen this common quote before:
"Every insect has a mortal enemy and if you cultivate that enemy, they’ll do the work for you."
Quick tips for Creating Balance with Pollinator Plants
Every living insect or creature plays a crucial role. We often celebrate certain insects and demonize other ones. It’s not necessarily about that, it's about finding balance because everything plays a role - pollinator plants, insects, birds, even bugs that we don't like - like aphids. We just need to help achieve that balance. If we’re not careful, as gardeners, we can be the ones that are throwing that balance off.
We want to create a more natural system using pollinator plants in any size yard. Here are some quick tips:
Native plants are important because they can enhance the natural habitat to an area and help bring a natural balance to the ecosystem. Native plants make excellent pollinator plants. Don’t worry if your yard doesn’t have native plants. What’s most important is to look at that bigger picture of what is visiting our homes. For instance, most ladybugs are non-native at this point, but that still doesn't mean that they're not serving an important role. And even the Asian beetle, which can be very devastating to a crop when they're out of balance, serves a very similar role as ladybugs.
Food and Water Sources are Important.
Your garden shouldn't be isolated, it should be alive. Not just with the plants, but everything else too. It’s important to grow a good variety of pollinator plants – floral, fruiting plants, leafy, grasses, shade plants, succulents. Nature is not a monoculture. We have plant communities, and we have plant groupings. The more variety we can bring in, we can also help support a larger variety of pollinator plants and a larger community of pollinators and predators.
Just like we want variety in our food, so do pollinators. One of the best things you can also do is to provide food and a water source. For a food source, this is going to be nectar from pollinator plants and other little creatures like your aphids and things like that. So, if you don't have aphids, how are we feeding the good guys? The goal is not going to be about eliminating all pests but rather to keep them at a manageable level. Again, it’s about balance. A water source is also big plus for pollinators.
Watch the video below for a quick way to build your own water feeder for the garden.
At Planted Places, we offer all sorts of flowering edible plants and herbs that make great pollinator plants and attract the pollinators for a healthy, balanced ecosystem. You can shop in our certified organic shop for Herbs and Floral, or you can purchase a garden grow kit that includes this season's selection of pollinator plants - it comes complete with planter, soil boosters - everything you need to grow!