Check out bringingnaturehome.net for lots of great information - including pictures - on pollinators in our region and their host plants.

Check out bringingnaturehome.net for lots of great information - including pictures - on pollinators in our region and their host plants.

Exploring Connections

Exploring Connections

One of the things that is always written about that gardeners look forward to over the winter is receiving seed and plant catalogues that begin the period of dreaming about next year’s garden. Maybe you start to explore what new introductions you can add or what seeds you would like to start in the coming months.

But there’s another take you can dream about for your garden and that is taking time to learn now, what pollinators are likely to visit and enjoy your garden next spring and summer. I find that I may recognize a butterfly as being one I’ve seen before but I’ll be darned if I can name it save for those I learned as a child. Now is the time to start to learn about our garden visitors.

So I suggest that this winter, over the Christmas holiday and on into February, make some time for learning more about the life your garden supports. Build it into a project you can do with your children. Make a page for each plant – including trees and shrubs – and gather information about which pollinators and birds or small mammals use it in their reproductive cycle or as food or shelter. Add pictures of the plant and the pollinators.

Here are some helpful resources for your search:

Bringing Nature Home: Check out the What Should I Plant tab. This website offers lots of great information – including pictures - on pollinators in our region and their host plants. It also allows you to build and store lists.

Bee and Pollinator Books by Heather Holm: These are great, detailed reference books. Be sure to check out Featured Author Articles on the website. Heather’s books include one which lists pollinators according to native plants and one which does the reverse. Both very helpful resources!

The Pollinator Partnership: This website has lots of great information and offers plant lists according to zip code plus lots of other good information.

National Audubon: Check out their Plants for Birds program and their native plants database which includes which birds will likely be attracted to which native plants.

Most importantly, have fun!