June 20-26 is Pollinator Week. It’s the week that most of us who write about plants or gardening or insects will choose to highlight the role of pollinators.
One of the best known facts is that native plants host pollinators. Does that mean that you have to plant only native plants? I will let you decide. But whatever you decide, try to make choices that assist the pollinators.
Don’t use pesticides, or use them sparingly and at times when they are least likely to affect them–at sunset, for example.
If you know that an insect has a particular life cycle, perhaps you can forego the pesticide altogether. Caterpillars are often short-lived, for example.
And while we are on the subject of insects, know your insects. The parsley worm caterpillar, which eats parsley down to nothing and can look scarily striped, turns into a lovely swallow tail butterfly. Don’t kill that by mistake.
And really, is it such a chore to plant natives? They are lovely carefree plants. Try incorporating some into your garden for the butterflies and bees. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
The above photo is from my “wildlife” garden. I no longer have the wall of black-eyed susans that you see in the front–but I do have some. And you can see that it’s not all natives either–there are hydrangeas and butterfly bushes (although this past winter just about eliminated those–I am not sure that I have any of those anymore–no loss).
What I added to this garden where the black eyed susans were is milkweed and more coneflowers. It’s still a work in progress–but that’s the story of all my gardens.
This garden is literally 1 foot from the road and whenever I work down there I get stopped by passers by and complimented.
Perhaps its cottage style isn’t for everyone. But I have deliberately crowded that plants so I don’t have to weed–or mulch.
This Pollinator week, try some natives. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.