We love gardening tips that are great for the environment, and this one is a favorite here at Millcreek Gardens.
Bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are three of nature’s biggest helpers. In fact, pollinators are necessary for the reproduction of flowering plants and for growing most fruits and vegetables.
In Northern Utah, you can beautify your garden while creating an attractive pollinator environment by choosing the right outdoor plants.
The More the Merrier with Nature’s Pollinating Helpers
The U.S. Forest Service reports that 75 percent of our food crops depend on animal pollinators. Likewise, birds and insects depend on flowering plants to provide food, mates and materials for nest-building. In fact, neither can exist without the other.
Unfortunately, some pollinators are fighting an uphill battle. Bee populations are dying off, which poses a potential threat to the environment and human food supplies. Because bees handle the largest portion of the world’s pollinating duties, the best gardening tips are those that nourish and encourage bees in any way possible.
Fortunately, those plants and conditions that attract bees are usually attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds as well.
It’s All About That Nectar
The best gardening tip for attracting bees and other pollinators involves choosing the right combination of flowering plants.
Choose annual and perennial flowers that have plenty of nectar and that bloom during the day. Blue and yellow are the best colors for bees, although any brightly colored blooms will attract animal pollinators of all types. Choose those varieties that hold their blooms the longest. Plant a mix of early-, middle- and late-season bloomers so they have access to nectar throughout the growing season.
For bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, the best flowers are those that provide an adequate landing platform to support their visit.
Those flower varieties that require the tiny visitors to work for the nectar – that is, the nectar is contained deep within the flower – encourage them to track through pollen. As they visit the next flower, the pollen is transferred and their pollinating mission is fulfilled. Meanwhile, they have harvested the food and energy they need to move along their way.
The Forest Service also offers a handy set of gardening tips for selecting pollinator-friendly plants for your yard.
Add Extra Elements for a Pollinator-Friendly Garden
Our last gardening tips for attracting animal pollinators involve the little extras you should (and shouldn’t) use in your garden.
To give bees, birds and butterflies a boost, provide a water source and several types of shelter. Hedges, leaf and grass clipping piles, old branches and artificial nesting boxes are all good options.
As for what not to use, avoid toxic chemicals for pest or weed control. If you must use a pesticide, never allow it to come into contact with flowers or buds.
In Northern Utah, Millcreek Gardens is the premier locally owned and operated gardening center. Our expert staff is always available to help you select the perfect annual flowers, perennial plants and fruits and vegetables for your garden or landscape. And please don’t hesitate to ask us for more advice and gardening tips for attracting pollinators.