How to attract pollinators to your yard = Save the Bees

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How to attract pollinators to your yard = save the bees

Gardeners can create pollinator-friendly gardens by growing native plants and eliminating pesticide use. Encouraging the preservation of heritage plants emphasizes the importance of creating pollinator habitats in home landscapes. If you want a healthy garden then you need insects. The best way to ensure insects are present is to have flowers that bloom for the entire season. Thus gardeners should plant for sequential blooming from spring thru to autumn.

While planting nectar-rich flowers to attract pollinators, including the hummingbirds, is important this is only one piece of the puzzle. It is not about setting up feeding stations for them; it is more important to foster or restore healthy, functioning ecosystems of which pollinators are one part. There is a need for home landscapes to offer greater bio-diversity. At Harmony Gardens Landscaping we design and build harmonized spaces where there is interaction between plants, animals, soil, micro-organisms modeled on natural ecosystems.

bee-839761_1920The City of Guelph is spearheading the creation of the world’s first public park designed specifically for pollinators called Pollinator Park. One hundred acres of the decommissioned Eastview landfill site will be transformed into a meadow-prime pollinator habitat- with grasses and wildflowers to attract insects. This will serve as a model worldwide of turning what used to be a garbage dump into a bloom-filled haven for pollinators and birds. This is an excellent opportunity to increase public awareness and provide environmental stewardship. This project is still in the planning stages.

Humans are not the only ones finding it hard to stop and smell the roses. Scientists have found that air pollution can significantly decrease the fragrance of flowers and thereby impede pollinating insects’ ability to follow a bloom’s scent trail. A study found that in the 1800’s a flower’s scent molecules could travel 1,200 meters whereas in today’s polluted environments these molecules may spread no more than 200 to 300 meters; thus making it difficult for pollinators to find blooms. Air pollution destroys the aroma of flowers by as much as 90 per cent.

Bee Helpful = what you can do to aid pollinators

Plant a diversity of nectar and pollen producing species that provide blooms from early spring thru the fall. Include indigenous plants. Bees have good colour vision preferring blue and yellow. Avoid the use of pesticides. Spray with natural, organic insecticides and horticultural oils at the appropriate times only. Spraying when trees and shrubs are in bloom will mame and kill the bees. Include larval host plants for butterflies. Join Pollination Canada’s Citizen science project and monitor the pollinators that visit your garden. Contact Harmony Gardens Landscaping to design and build your own bio-diverse ecosystem, including a pollinator garden, within your outdoor space.

Bee-Attracting Plants 
Spring:
Serviceberry, Dogwood, wild strawberry, wild geranium, Oregon grape, red currants, raspberry, violets, crocus, scilla, hepatica, primrose, apple, pear, peach, plum, crabapple trees, hawthorn, locust, basswood, Russian olive, tulip tree, and orange trees.
Summer/Autumn:
Hyssop, sunflower, blazing star liatris, bergamot, black-eyed Susan, stonecrop sedum, goldenrod, Culver’s root, salvia, milkweed, coreopsis, buddleia, lupine, tansy, lavender, oregano, rosemary, borage, sage, savory, basil and heather.

Plants poisonous to bees = avoid planting these
Mountain laurel, snow-on-the-mountain, andromedes, pieris, rhodendron, flowering tobacco, wild aster and boxwoods.