Help pollinators by planting a diversified home garden. Honeybees, bumble bees, butterflies and native pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. They are disappearing due to use of chemical pesticides and environmental stressors like the lack of good nutrition.
Create a pollinator garden by simply choosing a sunny place in your backyard to plant a variety of native plants. Select plants with sequential bloom times providing a consistent pollen and nectar source throughout the growing season. This is particularly important in urban landscapes.
Native bees are most attracted to blue, purple and violet flowers of different shapes and native plants like sunflower and purple coneflower are more attractive than annual flowers like petunias.
Avoid using chemical pesticides on the pollinator garden. Lupines, coreopsis, Joe Pye weed, blazing star, asters and goldenrod provide flower foraging habitats for pollinators.
Lisa Hilgenberg is the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden Horticulturist. She teaches classes for the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden and mentors interns from the Garden’s urban agriculture programs in the summer. Lisa draws on a rich family farming tradition, having spent many summers on her grandparents’ farms in Iowa and Minnesota. You can follow Lisa on Twitter @hilgenberg8.