it’s national pollinator month

Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce. By planting pollinator-friendly plants in the home garden, you are providing our flying friends with a feeding and a nesting habitat to thrive in, creating healthier pollinator communities.

Why are pollinators important?

Somewhere between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on the earth need help with pollination – they need pollinators. Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops. That means that 1 out of every three bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators. If we want to talk dollars and cents, pollinators add 217 billion dollars to the global economy, and honey bees alone are responsible for between 1.2 and 5.4 billion dollars in agricultural productivity in the United States. In addition to the food that we eat, pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from sever weather, and support other wildlife.

HOW YOU CAN HELP? PLANT THE RIGHT PLANTS!

 

Pollinators need help, but we know how to help them! Scientists and researchers that have been studying pollinators for over three decades have been able to show that conservation techniques work. If everyone – home owners, local governments, national governments, and private industry – made the effort we could change the future for pollinators.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THEIR STATUS?

 

Pollinator populations are changing. Many pollinator populations are in decline and this decline is attributed most severely to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats [8, 9]. Pollution, the misuse of pesticides, disease, and changes in climatic patterns are all contributing to shrinking and shifting pollinator populations. In some cases there isn’t enough data to gauge a response, and this is even more worrisome.

WHAT IS POLLINATION? WHO ARE THE POLLINATORS?

When a pollen grain moves from the anther (male part) of a flower to the stigma (female part), pollination happens. This is the first step in a process that produces seeds, fruits, and the next generation of plants. This can happen through self-pollination, wind and water pollination, or through the work of vectors that move pollen within the flower and from bloom to bloom. Birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, small mammals, and most importantly, bees are pollinators. They visit flowers to drink nectar or feed off of pollen and transport pollen grains as they move from spot to spot.

PLANT THESE TO ATTRACT POLLINATORS

*Please note, many of these items are seasonal

ANNUALS

Pentas
Verbena
Cosmos
Cleome
Rosemary
Mandevilla
Hibiscus
Petunias
Lavender
Lantana
Zinnias

PERENNIALS

Achillea
Agastache
Allium
Aquilegia
Anemone
Armeria
Asclepias
Aster
Campanula
Caryopteris
Centranthus
Chrysanthemum
Coreopsis
Delphinium
Dianthus
Dicentra
Digitalis
Echinacea
Eupatorium
Geranium
Helenium
Helianthus
Heliopsis
Hemerocallis
Heuchera
Iberis
Indigofera
Iris
Lavandula
Liatris
Lobelia
Lupinus
Malva
Monarda
Nepeta
Origanum
Penstemon
Phlomis
Phlox carolina
Phlox paniculata
Physostegia
Platycodon
Pycanthemum
Rudbeckia
Salvia
Scabiosa
Solidago
Stokesia
Veronica
Zizia

TREES & SHRUBS

Red Maple
Chokeberry
River Birch
Trumpet Vine
Eastern Redbud
Atlantic White Cedar
Flowering Dogwood
Red Twig Dogwood
Forthergilla
Anabelle Hydrangea
Oakleaf Hydrangea
Inkberry
American Holly
Winterberry
Virginia Sweetspire
Juniper
Eastern Red Cedar
Mountain Laurel
Leucothoe
Spicebush
Honeysuckle
Sweetbay Magnolia
Virginia Creeper
Eastern Ninebark
Colorado Spruce
Eastern White Pine
American Aborvitae
Blueberry
Cranberry
American Wisteria

NATIVE PLANTS

Native (or indigenous) plants, have been here for thousands of years. They have adapted to our light, soil and weather conditions, making them more resilient to what Mother Nature throws at them in unforgiving New England. The leaves, fruit, pollen and nectar of native plants are the preferred foods of pollinators. By providing food sources and habitat for them we help maintain their populations and promote biodiversity!