Pollinator Habitats

We would like to take a moment to pay tribute to the green thumbs of the world by sharing a blog post by our personal favorite, Gardens by Renee.  Renee illustrates the components needed to transform your space into a Pollinator Habitat and includes a list of pollinator friendly plants identified through our HoneyDNA project.  Enjoy!

Gardens by Renee helps people create healthy habitats for people, pollinators and plants.  Creating a healthy habitat where we live, play, learn and grow is vital  for a healthy lifestyle and….. zoom out, our environment.  Our landscapes are mini-ecosystems. It’s up to us to create a space for our birds, bats and all pollinators including; honey bees, native bees, bumbles, butterflies, moths and many, many more, to thrive.  A healthy habitat includes shelter, food, clean water and a pesticide free zone.

Bees love weeds! Illustration by Paige Mulhern

Shelter

Our pollinators need a place to call home, a shelter and protections from the elements and predators, a place to raise babies. Shelter can be in the form of a beehive, a bee hotel, a cluster planting or even some piles of leaves or sticks.

Food

Our pollinators, birds and bats need food.  Research being done by The Best Bees Company and its partners is showing that Habitat loss and lack of diversity in diet is a real problem and it only makes sense, right? Monoculture isn’t good for anyone or anything. Mix it up! This spring add more flowers, trees and shrubs to your landscape. Providing plants that bloom early in the season until late is important to all pollinators.  Here’s Renee’s top 20 list of plants that feed our bees, birds and pollinators, here in Zone 6.  Some of them feed us too.  Bonus.

  • Willow (Salix)                                                                
  • Redbud (Cercis)                                                              
  • Fruit Trees, Apple, Cherry, Plum (Prunus)              
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier)                                        
  • Blueberries (Vaccinium)                                              
  • Wild rose (Rosa)                                                            
  • Yarrow (Achillea)                                                           
  • Anise Hyssop (Agastache)                                        
  • Aster (Aster)                                                              
  • Lavender (Lavendula)                                               
  • Stonecrop (Sedum)
  • Holly (Ilex)
  • Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium)
  • Goldenrod (Solidago)
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
  • Beardtongue (Penstemon)
  • Bee Balm (Monardo)
  • Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Tickseed (Coreopsis)
  • Milkweed (Asclepsia)

Water

A clean water source is so important for our bees and other pollinators. Since bees cant swim, make a smile bee bowl by adding wine corks to a shallow dish and filling with water.  

Say No To Pesticides

Creating a healthy habitat includes attracting beneficial insects like ladybugs, predatory wasps and other natural enemies of our garden pests. Native plants attract these beneficial pest predators. These insects are not only part of a healthy garden but an important food source for our birds and bats. Organic practices include scouting for pests and hand-picking if you have an infestation.  

If you do have to spray…

  • Only use organic or natural pest deterrents. Our friends at Pureganix in Weston, MA have everything you need for your organic lawn and garden care.
  • Spray only at night, when flowers are not blooming, and when it’s dry and windless.
  • Last but not least, follow the instructions!

For more information, inspiration and education about creating healthy habitats check out The Xerces Society. We can’t say enough about what these guys are doing. 

Gardens by Renee is on a mission to connect people to their food, nature and one another  We do this through the design, installation and maintenance of edible landscapes and pollinator habitats. Start growing at https://gardensbyrenee.com/

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