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Monday, December 4, 2023

Pollinator Gardening for Beginners

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Ever wonder why your neighbor’s yards are all a flutter with so many different pollinators and yours has no sign of life at all? There are three vital things you must provide for pollinators to come to your yard/garden.
Nectar Producing Plants
Certain Pollinators need certain plants for their host plant. Milk Weed is essential for the future of Monarch Butterflies. Monarch’s can feed on any nectar producing plant, but ONLY lay their eggs on the back of the Milk Weed leaves. Monarch Caterpillar’s then live and feed on the Milk Weed leaves. So, when you see your leaves are being eaten, don’t panic! That’s what you want to happen!
The host plants of the Black Swallowtail butterfly include such plants as carrots, parsley, dill, fennel, Queen Anne’s Lace and rue.
The Tiger Swallowtail love Bronze Fennel and Dill. You can create a garden that will attract your favorite Butterflies, just by providing their favorite flowers.
Fresh Water
You can provide water for Butterflies by placing a plant saucer like goes under the pot with fresh shallow water and adding either a rock or some sand heaped up in the water. Butterflies will land on the sand and insert their little tongues into the wet sand sipping out the water. They love to land on the rock and bask in the sunshine. Just place these on the ground in your garden or on a pedestal.
To Quote my all time favorite Gardener
“An immaculate garden is a hostile place to most wildlife. Beautifully weeded borders, with every fallen leaf and twig gathered and disposed of, hedges kept constantly crisp and grass mown to within a fraction of its life may make a certain sort of gardener glow with pride but will provide little comfort for most of our birds, mammals and insects.” – Monty Don
So it’s OK to leave your garden a little wild. I know it may drive your husbands crazy if they love to trim and weed and have the perfect lawns. But that is not a welcoming place for Pollinators.
So if you provide these three things, you are sure to have a yard full of not only beautiful flowers, but beautiful Butterflies as well.
Here is a list of my all time favorite flower that are Pollinator favorites.
  1. Zinnias – Grown from seeds do best. The ones from the nursery don’t last long.
  2. Salvia – Any kind – My favorites are Salvia Amistad, Indigo Spires and Mystic Spires, Henry Duelberg Salvia and Augusta Duleburg Salvia
  3. Marigolds
  4. Sunflowers
  5. Cosmos
  6. Privet Hedge
  7. Yarrow
  8. Bee Balm
  9. Larkspur
  10. Greg’s Blue Mist
Favorite Butterflies and their Host Plants
Here are some popular butterflies and the host plants you’ll need to attract them. Use plants that are native to your area when possible:
  • Monarch – Milkweed
  • Gulf Fritillary – Passion vines
  • Painted Lady – Thistles and Mallows
  • Eastern Swallowtail – Dill, Parsley, Fennel, Rue, Queen Anne’s Lace
I hope you enjoyed this lesson in Pollinator Gardening. Next week we will learn just what other pollinators there are besides Butterflies?
You may be surprised.

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