Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
If you plant them, they will come.
I'm talking about pollinators and the native plants that attract them and provide nectar and habitat.
The best thing in my inbox this morning was a short simple e-mail and two beautiful pictures. They were sent by Rich Erstad of St. Paul, a gardener I don't know, who just wanted to share the fluttering clouds of Monarch butterflies that started congegrating in his urban yard after he planted a cluster of native liatris.
It doesn't even have to be a cluster. Just a few plants can bring a noticeable increase in pollinator visits. Last summer, I planted one swamp milkweed plant in my garden. ONE! It quickly became a bee and butterfly magnet.
If you're heading to the State Fair this week, stop by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture booth in the Ag/Hort building. The department has launched a public awareness campaign to protect pollinating insects, and has developed best practices for homeowners and other land owners. Here are a few simple things you can do to protect pollinators and invite more of them into your landscape:
1. Plant more flowers in your yard or on your balcony.
2. Let early dandelions flower -- they have nectar.
3. Leave areas of your lawn un-mowed.
4. Reduce pesticide use.
5. Find pollinator protection information on pesticide labels.
6. Set out water bowls and birdbaths for pollinators to drink.
7. Let clover grow and flower.
8. Start a beehive.
What are you doing in your garden to make it more pollinator-friendly?
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