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GardenSMART Video :: How Much Insect Damage Is Enough?

Show #46/7407. A Garden Space That's A Haven For Wildlife

Four Important Components For A Pollinator Garden

Building a pollinator garden is not super tricky, even just converting some little corner of our garden into a pollinator area works. It's pretty simple, but there are a few things that we ought to keep in mind to ensure success. Eric asks Sonya what should we think about? She thinks we can narrow it down to four important components. The first one is to make sure that you have native plants blooming in your garden in succession throughout the growing season. You need to look around and see what the first native plants are to bloom in your area and get those in your garden, then layer in additional plants so that something is blooming all throughout the growing season.

Then the second component is to make sure to pay attention to host plants. Those are the plants that are going to feed your baby caterpillars. All the babies need to eat something too. And feeding caterpillars means providing host plants for your caterpillars to eat and grow. We need to make sure that we're feeding the babies.

Then the third component is you need to make sure you're paying attention to what's happening with your pollinators over the wintertime. It's a time that we don't always think about but pollinators are going to overwinter in your garden. And many of our native bees are solitary. They don't have hives to go back to, instead they lay their eggs either in the ground or in the hollow stems of your plants in the garden. You want to make sure that you leave your stems at least 12 inches long. Because that's where a lot of the larvae and the eggs for your next generation of pollinators for next year will be. And it's also important to remember that bumblebee queens often overwinter under rotten logs in your garden. So, it's a good idea to leave some branches or an old rotten log that's laying around in your garden so that they can find a safe place to be over the wintertime.

Another thing that we need to think about is what we're doing with chemicals, if any, in our garden. Because if the goal is to keep these insects as happy and healthy as possible, there are a very few things that we can spray on the plants that is actually in their best interest. If you want insects to be eating your plants and you want the pollinators around it doesn't serve you very well to spray them with insecticides. And often insecticides are indiscriminate in the insects they kill. It's important to be careful about the chemicals that you put into your garden.

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers

Planting annual beds of flowers, especially those that are bred to take the summer heat, thereby extending their glory into fall makes a lot of sense. Click here for an informative article that discusses an economical strategy along with design ideas that can provide color like - a living highlighter. To learn more click here.

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