Gardens are wonderful for enjoying the benefits of the pollinator garden, but they’re also great places for bees and other insects to help keep the garden healthy. A healthy garden provides many important ecological functions, including food production, pest control, water conservation, and habitat for wildlife. There are a few simple ways to attract more pollinators to your garden, and here are some suggestions for how to make a pollinator garden with a little creativity. Consider these ideas next time you’re trying to grow something in your yard this year.
Plant Types: For a full spectrum of flowering plant types, you should look into the native plant types available in your area, or the ones you want to mimic. Most plants native to North America are very conducive to pollinators, which makes them a great place to start with your planting efforts. Try planting annuals in containers, perennials on plots of land with plenty of light, and flowering ground covers such as fieldflowers. You can also use eco-friendly window boxes, hanging baskets, and other types of containers that can house a few plants.
Plant Color: When choosing flowers for your pollinators, think about the colors of the flowers themselves. Garden flower gardens often draw birds, bees, and other insects that enjoy eating the various flowers. Consider planting annuals and perennials that are white, pink, red, purple, orange, blue, green, or yellow. You may also want to consider colors that are complementary to your other landscaping features, such as light-colored grasses and ground covers. Remember to keep in mind that flowers will fade and wash away over time, so you want to choose a color that will not only survive the test of time but thrive amidst it.
Planting Layout: As you make your plans for your pollinator garden, keep in mind that bees need access to several sources of food, such as nectar from flowering plant sources and stored pollen in the leaves and stalks. The ideal arrangement would be rows of vegetables in an upward fashion around the perimeter of the garden. This provides bees with a variety of food sources and prevents them from having to search too far outside their home. Place cover crops and small trees near the garden to give the bees a place to shelter.
Site: Wherever you place your garden, the key is giving the pollinators what they want. If you place your garden in a wooded area, bees will be more likely to build their hives there. But if you’re in a sunny, open area, then consider placing your garden in partial shade for the most optimal conditions. Also, consider the wind in your area. Wind tends to circulate and move air, which can be beneficial for pollinators.
Birdhouses: Birdhouses are another excellent place to plant a garden for the benefit of bees. Many songbirds love to feed on flowers, so placing a few birdhouses near your flowers is a sure way to attract these birds to your yard. You can plant a birdhouse in any open space that allows access to the ground. Common birds that enjoy feeding on flowers include bluebirds, cardinals, and sparrows.
Planting Variety: While the overall structure of your garden may consist solely of flowers, that’s not going to help pollinators. Therefore, you should plant several different types of flowers ranging from annuals to perennials. Fruits, such as grapes, blueberries, and bell peppers, are also good choices for pollinators. And finally, try to plant a mixture of flowers, because the bees are attracted to flowers that look good together.
Providing the right habitat for the pollinators that visit your yard is essential to having a healthy, blooming, bee-friendly garden. And luckily, there are many great options available for pollinators – from flower gardens to birdhouses. But regardless of which type of pollinator garden you choose, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to spend a fortune to make sure that they are protected from the damage that honeybees and other insects can cause. Proper, organic gardening will provide the ideal environment for your pollinators to thrive!