In the Garden: Creating a pollinator garden

Published: Jul. 5, 2019 at 2:49 PM EDT
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Of course we plant flower gardens for ourselves to enjoy, but sometimes it's good to think of others. Gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi shows us how to create a successful pollinator garden.

Sharon Meyer: Charlie, your garden is really humming! It's loud out here!

Charlie Nardozzi: Yes, there are lots of insects all over the place and we've planned it that way, because this is our pollinator garden. This is the garden where we have flowers for the honey bees, the bumble bees, the flies, the beetles, the wasps, all of the kinds of insects that will be pollinate your garden, including humming birds and butterflies. So the key creating a pollinator garden is to have a variety of flowers and have some color from the bulbs in the spring, all the way through the sedums and the asters in the fall.

Sharon Meyer: They gotta eat all summer long.

Charlie Nardozzi: They gotta eat the whole season long, and also the shape of the flowers matters too. So for example, you want to have some cup-shaped flowers, you want to have some tube-shaped flowers, you want to have some flowers that have like a landing platform on them so that a butterfly can land on them. And you want to have flowers that have bilateral symmetry, meaning the left side is the same as the right so that the honey bee can identify it -- 'Oh, that's a food source. I want to eat that." So not only flowers are important, but also the habitat where they are. They need a nesting place, so you want to have grassy areas because a lot of these are ground nesters.

Sharon Meyer: Oh really, so they're nesting over there, and then feeding here.

Charlie Nardozzi: Exactly, even if you don’t have a hay field, even if you just left a little area around your yard, just let it grow up and let if get a little wild, that’s going to be good for them. Brush piles are good, stumps are good, and water is important for them too. I know it’s been really wet, but it dries out fast. With water, if you don’t have a bird bath or a pond, you can make a mud puddle, which is really kind of fun. You just get a saucer, you put some mud in it, some clay, and you put some stones around it and you just fill it up with water and leave it there. And you’ll see the honey bees and all of the other insects will come in there, and not only to get the water, but the minerals from the clay too. So doing all of these things helps the environment, helps our pollinators and invariably helps us too.

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