I started to plan my garden this year and decided I wanted to attract butterflies. While talking with our Garden Center experts, I found that creating a habitat for butterflies was an important part of boosting our ecosystem. It’s called a “Pollinator Habitat.” It provides an environment primarily for butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. These pollinators are the key for plants to reproduce through flowers and seeds.
Our CEO and resident CSU Master Gardener, Brian J. Wheat gave me a few pointers on building this special place.
- Plant flowers. It’s as simple as that. Of course, there are certain flowers that do a better job of attracting pollinators – but the key is to provide blooms from early spring to late fall to provide a continuous food supply. A few of Brian’s favorites for early spring – penstemon, pasque flower and yarrow. For mid-season – salvia, bee balm, coneflower and blanket flower. For late season bloomers, try Cleome, Coreopsis and the common sunflower. Add colorful annuals and your garden will be beautiful throughout the growing season.
- Provide water. A birdbath will provide a drink for pollinators. Keep it clean to prevent mosquito breeding.
- Trees and shrubs can offer shelter, especially for birds. Leave the seeds of sunflowers and coneflowers to dry and provide winter food.
- Be mindful when using pesticides and herbicides. Use them wisely and minimally.
- Get your neighborhood involved. Most pollinators like bright, sunny areas with a large connection of territory.
The best part is creating a beautiful garden for me AND having a positive impact on our ecosystem. Like Brian says, “Plant Flowers!” For more information on birding, check out the “Lafayette birds!” Initiative FAQs on our blog page.