National Pollinator Week is coming quickly – June 18-24 – and the National Pollinator Garden Network needs your help to reach their goal of one million gardens for pollinators in the Million Pollinator Garden Project.
Who is the National Pollinator Garden Network?
In the fall of 2014, a group of nonprofit organizations got together to brainstorm ideas to support President Obama’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The original groups – American Public Gardens Association, AmericanHort, Asta, Home Garden Seed Association, kidsgardening.org, National Garden Bureau, National Gardening Association, National Wildlife Federation and Pollinator Partnership – and many other conservation and gardening groups formed the National Pollinator Garden Network.
What is the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge?
The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge is their project to encourage more gardens for all sorts of pollinators. Their goal: one million pollinator-friendly gardens by National Pollinator Week, June 18-24, 2018.
Are you ready to help?
It’s free; it’s easy; and it only takes a few minutes to do. I just registered my garden a few days ago.
Your action also sends a message to the current administration that the American people support protection of pollinators and understand their importance. Let’s all help them reach this worthwhile goal. Have you registered your garden yet? Do it here.
Pollinators are responsible for more than a third of the world’s crops, but the number of pollinators is declining for many reasons. While we may not be able to solve all the problems bees, butterflies and other pollinators face, we can plant more nectar and pollen sources, provide water, leave some areas in the landscape less manicured and eliminate, or at least reduce, the amount of pesticides we use.
Nectar & Pollen for Pollinators
Plant flowers with a variety of colors and flower shapes so there will be something each type of pollinator prefers. Plant masses as large as space and budget allows so they are easy for pollinators to find.
When selecting perennials for the garden, choose plants that nourish pollinators in spring, summer and fall so they have a consistent supply of food.
Spring flowering bulbs and wildflowers provide a feast for early-rising pollinators. Check out this earlier post, Plant Early Spring Bloomers for Pollinators, for some ideas.
There is a ton of choices for plants that provide nectar and/or pollen for pollinators in the summer and fall. Asters, black-eyed Susan, catmints, coneflowers, salvia, sedums and yarrows are just the tip of the garden bed.
Choose native plants when you can and nativars (cultivars of native plants) when the native plant won’t work in your landscape. Learn more about cup plants (Silphium) or Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium). Both are pollinator favorites.
A pollinator garden wouldn’t be complete without milkweed (Asclepias). Monarchs depend on them for sustenance as caterpillars and nectar as butterflies. Swamp milkweed blooms in white or rose and grows tall – up to four feet. They perform best in average or moist soils. Butterfly weed displays bright orange flowers and is smaller – just two feet tall. It grows best in poor, dry soils.
Most flowering annuals are loaded with nectar and pollen for pollinators, so it is easy to plant containers that please pollinators.
Water for Pollinators
You can lead a pollinator to water and it will drink. Any source of water will do – birdbaths, fountains, ponds.
Shelter for Pollinators
Provide areas in the landscape that offer protection from strong winds.
Leave some areas unmanicured. Natural areas provide shelter and breeding spaces. Leave some piles of sticks and places of bare ground in an out of the way corner.
Eliminate the use of pesticides in the garden.
Consider gentler (on pollinators, not on pests) methods to control pests. Accept a few holes in leaves and a few weeds in the lawn.
More than 700,000 gardens have already been registered. Please help the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge reach its goal of one million gardens registered by National Pollinator Week beginning June 18. Gardens can be as small as containers on a deck or patio, as large as a grand country estate, and all sizes in between.
Register your garden and bee one in a million. Garden with me!