By Jannie Vaught
And for this gardener, it has been a high priority for building and growing habitat for them. Here’s what we all can do to help our pollinators survive and thrive. As you plan your gardens make sure there are many flowering plants that are blooming well into the fall. Plant native plants and even grasses that sustain places for them to collect pollen have watering areas, muddy wet “Puddling” spots for butterflies, even apple peels, and fruit left on a wet area so they can feed.
This year I planted heavily with Cosmos flowers, Calendula, Marigolds, and Zinnias. They are heavily worked with bumblebees, honey bees, and Angelwing and many other butterflies. We were standing and watching as they were busy working these flowers. Even the remaining cucumber flowers and even a few tomatoes were getting a work over by them. I have two areas that have been supplied for Blue Bees or Mason bees.For the Mason bee house I drilled a block of wood and a stack of logs that I have drilled holes in and stacked in an out of the way area facing the south. They have been used and the young have hatched and they are busy again. Many pollinators need hollow areas such as hollow limbs, bamboo, and holes drilled in the wood so they can lay their eggs, leave a feed pellet and seal with what looks like mud for their young to hatch. They will eat and breakthrough to continue the cycle. The use of chemicals has greatly harmed our native bees and butterflies so please use only pollinator friendly products. And do some research on bringing the good bugs into your garden, ladybugs eat aphids and praying mantis are the big killers for the bad bugs, you want as many of them as you can have, lacewings, soldier bugs, and good soil nematodes. All working together to bring a balance to our ecosystems. Even though it has been and were tired from the heat take a little time to plan that Pollinator garden this fall, yes they are happy with any flower and we are dependant on for fertility and growth of the food we are gardening for. They go flower to flower, plant to plant doing their work, with a healthy environment for them to reproduce right there in your garden.
As you plan your fall garden consider your seed collection. And there are many to choose from, have you ever seen a bee in a squash or pumpkin flower! And they have to be in that flower for us to have a pumpkin. All because of the Queen of Nature the honey bee. And as we choose seeds look for heirloom seeds that are for our growing zone. Seeds are food. And without the bee, well it’s not a picture we want to see. so plan for more flowers more natives and get a little flat water dish out for them. We help them and they help us it’s all about the Web of Life, the unending circle to which we are all a part of.
All my fall plants are in their starter trays and under lights for fall. And yes our fall garden is often better than the spring.
Growing green with Jannie