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How to Build a Pollinator Garden

pollinator garden

As a society, we’ve become increasingly conscious of ways to preserve and protect our environment.

We’ve learned to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We make sustainable choices in our flooring and our pool decking using materials like cork, bamboo, and concrete. We plant trees and contribute to compost piles. We try to conserve water and use long-lasting light bulbs in our lamps because energy-efficient ones reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And even if an electric car is not financially feasible, we still make small contributions like using eco-friendly shopping bags instead of plastic ones.

Essentially, there’s no such thing as a small contribution. Perhaps then you’d consider building a little garden with a big conscious?

What’s Happening with Pollinators?

Besides deaths from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that started in 2006, honeybees are being plagued by parasites, viruses, bacterial diseases, and pesticides, among other afflictions.

These bees and other pollinators are essential workers. The seeds needed to maintain plant species are produced when pollen is transferred between flowers. That makes these creatures crucial to life on our planet.

On the website of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations they cite, “Pollinators are essential to the production of many of the micronutrient rich fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and oils we eat. In fact, close to 75 percent of the world’s crops producing fruits and seeds for human consumption depend, at least in part, on pollinators for sustained production, yield and quality. The diversity of food available is largely owed to animal pollinators. But alarmingly, in a number of regions, pollination services are showing declining trends.”

To this end, in 2016, the National Pollinator Garden Network asked people to BEE One in a Million. The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge was a “nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America.”

They mounted a campaign to get a million pollinator gardens constructed; they succeeded.

According to a 2019 press release, “In just three years, 1,040,000 gardens were registered with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC) involving an estimated eight million people, concentrated in the United States, and Canada with some in Mexico, and across the globe. From tiny yards to public gardens, the million plus gardens add up to a network of approximately five million acres of enhanced or new pollinator habitat.”

How to Build a Pollinator Garden

If you enjoy working in your yard and have realized the benefits of growing your own vegetables as well as the positive impact gardening has on your spiritual and physical self, perhaps you’ll consider creating your own ecosystem to help your corner of the world thrive.

Actually, by building this unique type of garden, you will help people everywhere by giving pollinators a safe place to work!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been steadfast in their endeavors to “restore and conserve more than 1.3 million acres of land across the Midwest.” They offer wonderful suggestions for creating a small slice of paradise for pollinators. It’s as simple as selecting just the right spot in your yard and keeping it free of pesticides that are harmful.

Six Steps to Building a Pollination Destination!

1. Location. Think of this as an oasis, one that should extend the best of several worlds. Butterflies and bees enjoy the sun. Some plants prefer less sun, but your guests demand plenty of light! So, choose a place that has some wind shelter but is sunny and bright.

2. Soil. Whether your yard’s composition is sandy or wet, best to have a conversation with your local nursery or home improvement store to determine which sun-loving plants will flourish in your environment. You may even want to bring a soil sample with you for an accurate assessment.

3. Blooms. It’s always safer to cultivate vegetation that’s native to your area and its climate. Again, consult a specialist so you don’t waste money or be disappointed with a failed garden. What’s also essential is to get confirmation that no plants in your selection were treated with pesticides that will harm your busy guests.

Additionally, depending on how committed you are to tending a garden, you may wish to purchase perennials (instead of annuals), so you needn’t replant yearly.

Gardener’s Path suggests the 13 Top Choices for Attracting Pollinators that includes goldenrod, lavender, marigolds, milkweed, snapdragons, and sunflowers.

Just as you do when selecting blooming plants to blossom over the course of the seasons, make certain your selections will peak at different times, so you have three pollination seasons instead of one! You can start with seeds as it’s a more economical choice, but again, consider how much work you are prepared to put in, versus your budget.

4. Preparation. Whether you’re getting a room ready to paint or are laying pavers from your patio to your pool, for any home improvement project, preparation is time well spent. If you’ve determined the best pollinator garden spot is covered with grass or even stones, you’ll want to overturn and rake up any obstructions.

There are many gorgeous alternatives for container gardening too, so don’t discount a lovely collection of barrels or planters to showcase your botanicals. Confirm the best ways to naturally enrich the soil with your local plant expert.

5. Planting. Fall and late winter are great times to get your seeds started. If there’s already snow on the ground, you can scatter the seeds on top of the snow. The sun will help them get their footing while the snowflakes will water them for you!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends, “If you’re starting with small plants, make sure you follow frost guidance to avoid putting your plants in too early. Dig holes just big enough for the root system, then cover and reinforce the roots with soil or compost. Add mulch to reduce weed growth.”

6. Maintain. Keep a close eye on weeds and water needs to give your garden the love it deserves. Gardenista serves up their best practices for pollinator gardens. You may find you have a green thumb all along and didn’t know it!

Enjoy making a difference in our world in such a beautiful way…

Providing pool and home improvement loans since 1979, Lyon Financial loves the great outdoors…and all the blooms that bring the bees! We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.