Bee Counted!

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20170714B.jpgIs your garden bee-friendly? And also adapted to attract and feed other pollinators? If so, why not join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge and add your garden to the list of over 200,000 gardens throughout North America that are pollinator-friendly.

Bees Are Having a Hard Time

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Bees may look busy, but their numbers are in decline. Photo: krayker, rgbsotck.com

You’d have to be totally disconnected from any news source not to know that bees are having a hard time these days. Domestic bees are suffering from colony collapse disorder, still rather mysterious, as the cause is presently unclear, although the abundant use of neonicotinoid pesticides on field crops and, unfortunately, nursery crops (the perennials and annuals you buy) is considered one of the most likely suspects.

Native bees too are declining due to habitat loss and introduction of new predators.

And it’s not just bees. Other pollinators too are in decline, notably birds and butterflies.

Interestingly, even home gardeners can be a big help. Just planting pollinator-friendly gardens, be it only a flower bed or even a few pots of blooms on a balcony, can be a huge help.

The more people who provide resources to bees and other pollinators, without using harmful pesticides that can kill them, the better they’ll be able to survive and, hopefully, come to thrive again.

Plant a Pollinator Garden

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A pollinator garden offers plenty of colorful flowers all season long. Photo: Matthew Shepherd, The Xerces Society

You can specifically plant a pollinator garden in your yard … and it isn’t even hard to do! Just by growing beautiful flowers, you’re already well underway.

Pollinator gardens should:

  • Use plants that provide nectar and pollen sources. Most flowers with attractively colored flowers fall into that category: annuals, perennials, biennials and also many flowering shrubs and trees.
  • Provide a water source. A bird bath, for example, or a small fountain. A friend just lets his garden tap drip a bit and you should see the butterflies and birds that attracts!
  • Be situated in sunny areas with wind breaks.
  • Create large “pollinator targets” of native or non-invasive plants. Mass plantings attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered here and there.
  • Establish continuous bloom throughout the growing season. (And who doesn’t want continuous bloom in their garden?)
  • Eliminate or minimize the impact of pesticides. Read how here: When Good Pesticides Do Bad Things.

Already Pollinator-Friendly?

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Part of my front garden: note the fountain for birds, butterflies and other pollinators. Photo: Laidbackgardener@gmail.com

Maybe your garden is already pollinator-friendly? Mine is.

If so, register your garden on the Million Pollinator Garden map, part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, an initiative of the National Pollinator Garden Network.

The objective of the challenge is to increase nectar- and pollen-providing landscapes of every size in order to address one of the significant threats to pollinator health: the scarcity and degradation of forage. The goal is to promote and count 1 million pollinator forage locations across North America.

How to BEE Involved:

20170715F.pngSimply head to the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MGCP) website (http://millionpollinatorgardens.org) and complete the following steps:

1. Click on “Register your Garden to BEE counted.”

2. Click on the green Register button.

3. Enter the information about your garden.

3 a. Upload a photo of your garden (optional).

3 b. Let the MPGC know where you learned about them. When you see the “Your Organization/Partnership Affiliation” drop-down menu, click on The Association for Garden Communicators (GWA). This is the association I’m affiliated with and if you learned about them from me, that’s where I’d like the credit to go.

4. Click on Submit.

In just a few minutes, your garden will be added to the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge map.

It’s as simple as that!


Remember, increasing the number of pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes will help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across the country. And it’s so easy to do!20170714B.jpg

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