Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening
Last year I planted a small fenced vegetable and flower garden for the first time. I think that slugs harvested more of my lettuce than I did, so I have decided that I will support local farms to obtain my veggies. The flowers I chose looked out of place in my wooded yard full of salal, grasses and ferns. I have decided that my garden will now be dedicated to attracting a variety of pollinators. Kim Eierman’s book The Pollinator Victory Garden convinced me to make changes to my garden so that it is more beneficial to the environment. Her book contains a wealth of information about how to attract and support bees, beetles, butterflies, bats and other pollinators.
Eierman notes that “pollinators are critical to our food supply and responsible for the pollination of the vast majority of all flowering plants on our planet.” Pollinators are in decline for a variety of reasons including construction, the use of pesticides and climate change. Eierman emphasizes the use of native plants and that It is important to research native plant species that would most benefit the area where a garden is being planted. I previously thought that a butterfly bush was all I needed to attract butterflies to my garden. However, I have now learned that the butterfly bush is an invasive species that doesn’t serve as a larval host for North American butterflies. The bush only supplies nectar, and many native plant species can provide both nectar and a suitable environment for butterfly larvae.
The Pollinator Victory Garden contains many tips for growing a successful garden including the provision of nesting sites for pollinators. It is also important to use a diverse array of plants with different flower shapes, sizes, and colours that bloom at different times throughout the growing season. The reduction or elimination of lawns is also helpful. Eierman says lawns are “ecological wastelands for pollinators.” Eierman is an environmental horticulturist and teacher who believes that “every yard, garden, rooftop, porch, patio…can help win the war against pollinator decline.” I am looking forward to doing my part to help pollinators by planning, planting and maintaining my pollinator victory garden for years to come.