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News: Bee-utiful Gardens: The Possibilities with Pollinators


December 20, 2018

From the GCA Collection at the Archives of American Gardens

The Archives of American Gardens, with support from members of The Garden Club of America, has worked to preserve thousands of gardens through photographic and written documentation. These gardens, with their flowers, fruits, and vegetables, would hardly be possible without the busy pollinators facilitating seed production. Pollinators are a diverse group of insects, birds, and mammals which generally consume nectar, in the process spread pollen, and fertilize flowers. It has been well-documented that pollinators are necessary and important parts of the world’s ecosystem.

There is a saying that for every third bite of food, one should thank a pollinator. One way to accomplish this is to designate a space within a garden to support pollinators. There are three important things to remember when establishing habitat for pollinators.

1. Know what to grow. 

To attract a variety of native pollinators, plant a range of native flowering plants that provide food and shelter through many seasons. Pollinator friendly plants are visually diverse and provide an array of textural and colorful opportunities throughout all growing seasons. To identify pollinators in all areas of the United States check these websites.

USDA Forest Service

Pollinator Partnership   

Xerces Society

2. Give them a home.

Consider leaving leaf litter or dead wood in the garden or install a bug hotel and/or bird house.

3. Avoid chemicals.

Pesticides that kill aphids, mosquitoes, rodents or other unwanted garden visitors can also be harmful to various pollinating guests. Pledge to end the use of synthetic pesticides in your backyard.

Photos courtesy of Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America Collection.


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