Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Perfect Side Dish for Your Vegtable Bed, A Pollinator Garden

Soon gardeners who like to eat what they grow will begin planting their vegetable beds even here in North Country. What is a perfect side dish? A pollinator garden! Those veggies and fruits depend on them. I am really trying to learn more about native plants in my area AND how to attract pollinators and beneficial insects. Bonus for me, the two go hand in hand. Pollinators include birds (i.e. humming), bees, butterflies, flies, wasps and even bats, beetles and mosquitos. Part of the fun for me in making my new garden is seeing what new insects show up each year the more I plant. I would like to make at least one of the new distinct sections of the flower border that I will be reworking on the edge of my potager attractive to pollinators. A great resource I discovered through one of my native plant sources, Amanda's Garden (perhaps a source for you as well if you live in NY and surrounding areas), is a website entitled Pollinator Partnership. You can learn all about pollinators and even download a guide to the pollinators in your specific area in the United States and what native plants will attract them! For example, I am in the Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Continental) Province. This certainly seems much more interesting and specific than the "Northeast."

Some plants that I already own (either by purchase or volunteering), or that I have on order that will attract pollinators in my area include foam flowers, golden rod, heath asters, honeysuckle, jacob's ladder, joe-pye-weed, swamp milkweed, virginia creeper, and wild grapes. There are many more! And as you can determine from this brief list, you can attract pollinators with sun or shade. I will be sure to post any interesting sightings this season.

Photo from Bluestone Perennials web site.

Helenium and Solidago 'Fireworks' (Golden Rod).
Photos from Bluestone Perennials web site.

Wild grapes growing on my "treasured" chain link fence.
A wren built her nest in this house.

Virginia Creeper berries in the fall. 
The leaves turn a brilliant red.

If you garden in the midwest, another one of my favorite sources for native plants (that will attract pollinators in your area) is Prairie Moon.

Let me not forget to mention that you should not use any pesticides or chemicals in your garden if you wish to attract pollinators and birds who rely on insects for feeding their young.

Happy pollinating!


  1. This post is absolutely wonderful! I love your birdhouses...I collect many various kinds too. Lizards mostly nest in mine, but that's OK I guess. The list of pollinators is perfect...many people don't even consider this.

  2. Thank you Kimberly. I can't wait to see what new insects show up this year. Not many lizards here but maybe I can spy a salamander. I would like to get some nice nesting boxes with predator guards that also convert to roosting boxes in the winter - that would be next to add to my collection. Would love to see your birdhouses.


Thank you for joining me in my garden in the making!

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