Jean Atkinson from Richbar nursery Golf and Gardens writes about how to attract important pollinators to your garden. (Richbar Nursery Golf and Gardens Facebook photo)

Lawn and Garden: Attracting pollinators to your garden

Jean Atkinson of Richbar Golf and Gardens shares tips to make your garden pollinator-friendly

Jean Atkinson

Richbar Golf and Gardens

I think that there are going to be some amazing gardens out there this year. Gardens, vegetable or ornamental, might just be the saving grace of us all. Gardens give you purpose, reward you with fruits of your labour and satisfy your creative side.

Since we have all slowed down these days, we have more time to observe nature in our backyards, whether it be birds, butterflies, bees or your next-door neighbour — hopefully he/she is in the good neighbour category. These visitors to your garden are essential as pollinators, and without them, we would be in real trouble. I will put a disclaimer in here that doesn’t include deer and/or that neighbour.

So how do you attract more of this wildlife to your backyard?

All the above have three simple requirements, just like us: water, food and shelter.

First of all, you must think of providing a source of food throughout the three seasons: spring, summer and fall. Many years ago, the border at the nursery was planted with bulbs such as scilla, crocus, tulips and narcissus. The other day, I took a photograph of it and it was humming with bees. After a long winter, the bees are hungry. Bees are also attracted to large patches of plants. They are easier for them to find, and foraging for nectar is much easier when they don’t have to go very far from plant to plant.

Other early spring flowers would include columbine, bleeding heart, pansies and heather. Yes, you can grow heather in the Cariboo. It is an easy ground cover that just needs a little bit of a trim (don’t we all) after flowering to keep it from getting too leggy.

I am not going to be popular with some of you when I say that dandelions are also important for bees, as it is difficult for them to find food early on in the season. So, before you decide to eradicate every yellow bloom on your lawn with a herbicide, think about the benefits they provide to pollinators. Really, they only appear for a short time.

Fruit trees also provide food, as well as shelter, for pollinators. Pears and plums bloom earliest, followed by apples. I think my favourite fruit tree is the Dolgo crab apple, not so much for its small fruit, which is ideal for making jelly, but the blooms are so prolific and lightly scented.

As summer comes around, the variety and abundance of flowers makes life a little easier for the pollinators. Blue and violet are very popular colours, so think lupines, salvia, veronica, creeping thyme and lavender. Red and orange flowers are magnets to hummingbirds. Bee balm, honeysuckle vines and the shrub Weigela are a few suggestions.

Vermillianaire Cuphea, or Giant Firecracker plant, is a great centerpiece to a sunny patio pot. The tubular orange flowers cover this heat-loving plant. Once the hummingbirds discover it, they will make it a regular stop on their route. Plant a patio pot with this in the center and the colourful Lemon Coral annual sedum trailing over the sides for a splash of colour all season long.

As late summer and fall rolls around, perennials such as Rubeckia, fall asters and sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ will keep those pollinators happy. A low-maintenance combination includes these three plants and a backdrop of perennial ‘Karl Forester’ Reed grass.

I hope your garden offers you, as well as pollinators, a place to be calm and safe.

READ MORE: Getting started if you are new to gardening



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

gardening

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend about 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

100 Mile RCMP seek help in stolen credit card case

Card was used at multiple locations in 100 Mile House

Graduates invited to participate in free, mini photo shoots May 27-28

The Williams Lake Dry Grad Committee is promoting an all inclusive, mini photo shoot

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Williams Lake Tribune continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

Most Read