Bees are the tiny but mighty workhorses. Both honeybees and native bees are integral to the miracle of pollination and the good things it brings: fruits and vegetables, propagation of many plants, and critically, the support of life for terrestrial animals, like us.
Butterflies impress us with their beauty and amaze us with their life cycle of metamorphosis. They also pollinate. Butterflies migrating long distances over generations evoke wonder.
Unfortunately pollinators are in trouble. If bees continue on their current downward spiral they will be extinct by 2035. Monarchs and other butterfly populations are a fraction of what they were 20 years ago.
By building a community necklace of havens and waystations in our own yards, we can support local pollinators along with our own fruit and vegetable gardens.
The recipe for what pollinators need is simple: Food + Water + Shelter.
These are the constants:
Curtail herbicide and pesticide use, including neonics.
Aim for a continuous bloom of native flowers and plants.
Plant larger swaths of same type of flower to attract attention from bees and enhance their efficiency.
Have both nectar and host plants for various butterfly species, including California native milkweed for monarchs.
Place a water source in your garden, like a birdbath with some rocks.
This can serve thirsty bees and butterflies.
Don’t be a “neatnik” gardener. Some bare areas and some leaf litter can aid critters.
Relax and enjoy your beautiful planters and gardens.
For a fascinating TED talk on bees, click here >>
and below for more detailed information on our individual pollinator sections below,
© Christine Volker