Site icon Wellfield Botanic Gardens

Pollinator-friendly gardens

What are pollinators? When many hear the word pollinator, they immediately think of bees. While bees are major pollinators, so are birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, and small mammals. They all contribute to an ecosystem that is responsible for 1 of every 3 bites of food you take, and one that adds $217 billion to the global economy. 

Pollinators not only play a crucial role in the habitats and ecosystems wild animals rely on for food and shelter, but they are also responsible for the survival of about 35% of the world’s food crops and three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants.

Local pollinators have evolved alongside native flora; many have adapted to and depend on these plants to continue their life cycle. A pollinator-friendly garden includes a diversity of plants native to the region that will thrive without much additional help or resources, and will provide plenty of pollen, nectar, and shelter for local pollinators. 

If you want to create a space to feed local pollinators in your yard, here are a few guidelines. First of all, this does not need to be a massive undertaking. Even a small area or flower bed can benefit your local ecosystem. 

At Wellfield, we put many of these practices into action. If you have been to the garden this spring you have likely seen us hard at work, cutting down and cleaning up last year’s plant debris. We also have an abundance of native plants at the gardens. For instance, the Spicebushes, Lindera benzoin, are getting ready to bloom here. This is a favorite larval host plant and food source for the aptly named Spicebush Swallowtail. 

There are many benefits to planting a native, pollinator-friendly garden. Even the smallest plot is a step toward supporting an ecosystem that supports us and more sustainable gardening practices. For more resources on native plants and pollinators, check out your local Native Plant Society or Purdue University Entomology Extension.

Kyle Strain, Lead Horticulturist

Exit mobile version