Looking back on my elementary school days, on of my favorite science topics was pollination and pollinators. Today, the first pollinator that comes to mind is bees! While bees are the main insect pollinators, there are several other insects as well as animals that contribute to pollination. This includes butterflies, birds, flies, beetles, moths and even small mammals like bats!
What is pollination and why is it important?
Pollination is the transfer and production of seeds that are necessary for a new generation of plants to be produced. Pollination is beneficial to plants, pollinators and definitely, humans. Pollinators are essential components of our habitat and ecosystem. So, when you take care of your garden, also keep an eye on the pollinators that help your plants bloom. Make your place more inviting to pollinators. Not only you’re keeping your garden healthy and beautiful, you’re also contributing to the environment by keeping the pollinators busy!
So, without further ado, here are my basic ABCs to bring more pollinators to your garden:
A. Add Assorted, Attractive and Aromatic Plants and Flowers
Just like us humans, insects and birds are easily drawn to attractive colors and delightful scents. Play around with brightly colored flowers in your garden and creatively group them based on shade or shapes that can easily catch pollinators’ attention. Be bold and mix a variety of aromatic and pollen-rich flowers that your pollinators can indulge in. Add on some flowering herbs like bee balm, rosemary, lavender and basil. Their flowers bring out fragrance and flavor that bees and butterflies cannot resist. As mush as possible, stick with your local and native flowering plants since these are the plants that your pollinators are most familiar with. Make your garden a paradise for hungry and hardworking pollinators.
B. Build a Bath for Birds, Bees and Butterflies
Provide a bath that can be beneficial to birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators in your garden. They need water to drink, cool down and clean themselves up. It can simply be a shallow plastic basin or a fancy circular tray with rocks, pebbles and sand so that birds can have better footing. Just make sure you put fresh clean water and it’s well maintained. You can put the bath in a nice protected location near trees or a flowering patch so you can see them gather around on it while you enjoy the rest of your garden. Keep it out of direct sunlight so that it won’t dry out quickly and the water won’t get too hot for the birds and other pollinators to handle.
C. Choose to be Chemical-Free
Pesticides and herbicides are harmful to pollinators and can potentially kill them. Pesticides can also cause human health issues so choose to be chemical-free and avoid other substances that can be toxic to you, your pollinators and other beneficial organisms. In this manner, you can have a healthier garden with abundant pollinators.
D. Dedicate a Dwelling Place
Your pollinators need a home where they can feel secure and comfortable. Dedicate a dwelling place where they can nest. This shelter will serve as a hideout from their predators or just a nook if they simply don’t want to be disturbed. You can make use of rotten or decomposing logs with holes in them for bees, butterflies and other insects. Grass cuttings, small piles of branches and hollow twigs can be used as nesting materials so make sure that you keep some of those too. You can even go as far as making customized nesting boxes where birds can lay their eggs or bats can raise their young. This will give them the feeling that they are welcome to stay, and they can multiply.
E. Enjoy and Expect to Entertain more visitors!
Feel free to continuously edit and enhance your new sanctuary— the main goal here is to keep both your plants and pollinators happy and healthy. Enjoy your garden and expect to see more pollinators every single day! Happy gardening!