This week was Pollinator Week and I started thinking about all the different pollinators that visit my yard. Over the roughly seven years since we moved in, I’ve been continually adding new native plants and transforming a yard of grass to wildlife habitat. In the last couple of years I’ve focused on the backyard and creating more pollinator habitat. Flowers start blooming before winter is over and there is a constant bloom throughout the spring and summer and well into the autumn. I also leave things messy because old flower stems are used for bees to nest in. There are patches of bare soil for ground nesting bees to dig their holes and I never use pesticides.
As a result, I have been rewarded by dozens and dozens of different types of pollinators – from bumble bees and leaf-cutter bees to syrphid flies, beetles and butterflies. I take a lot of photos to document what pollinators visits and when and even which flowers they prefer to visit. I’ve learned that the leaf-cutter bees have a fondness for blanketflower while the wool carder bees like Cooley’s hedge nettle.
My yard is certified pollinator habitat by the Xerces Society as part of their ‘Bring Back the Pollinators‘ program. I’ve taken the pledge to provide “flowers from which to drink nectar and gather pollen, a place to lay eggs or build a nest, and freedom from pesticides.” And looking at the diversity of pollinators in my photos, I have certainly succeeded.
Want to create your own pollinator habitat? You don’t need a lot of space, you can even do it on an apartment balcony like I did a few years ago. The Xerces Society has a Pollinator Conservation Resource Center with regionally specific resources. There you will find pollinator plant lists, habitat installation guides, links to plant nurseries and links to help monitor your pollinators.
I also highly recommend the Xerces Society’s book, “Attracting Native Pollinators“. It’s one of my most frequently referenced books on wildlife habitat.