What to Know About Pollinator Gardens (2024)


Gardening Basics


Les Engels

What to Know About Pollinator Gardens (1)

Les Engels

Les Engles achieved Master Gardener through theCamden County Extension of the Rutgers Master Gardeners Program. He is an arboretum curator with over 30 years of experience. He describes himself as a "tree-hugging dirt worshipper" who is a member of multiple gardening societies and foundations.

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Updated on 02/28/22

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Mary Marlowe Leverette

What to Know About Pollinator Gardens (2)

Reviewed byMary Marlowe Leverette

Mary Marlowe Leverette is one of the industry's most highly-regarded housekeeping and fabric care experts, sharing her knowledge on efficient housekeeping, laundry, and textile conservation. She is also a Master Gardener with over 40+ years of experience and 20+ years of writing experience. Mary is also a member of The Spruce Gardening and Plant Care Review Board.

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What to Know About Pollinator Gardens (3)

Pollinator garden is a buzzword in gardening (pun intended!). It is a relatively recent term, but an important one for gardeners and anyone interested in environmentalism.

What is a Pollinator Garden?

A pollinator garden is designed to contain plants to provide food and shelter to animals (bees, birds, butterflies, moths, wasps, bats, and small mammals) that pollinate plants that support the local ecosystem and food web. Pollinator gardens are often made up of native plants, but non-native plants pollinator gardens can still support local wildlife.

Why Pollinator Gardens Matter

Pollinators—i.e., animals that move pollen from one flower to another—are in decline. Pollinator decline is attributed primarily to the loss of habitat and to the use of pesticides. Urbanization is occurring at an alarming rate; our green space is disappearing. Green space is often converted to land for crops, monoculture lawns, or planted with non-native plants that do not support or host local insects that carry out pollination.

With the rapid decline of bees, the widespread availability and use of pesticides, and the economics of past horticulture practices that prioritized a plant's desirability over its function, we are in a pollinator crisis. This is where pollinator gardens, and you, can help by planting a pollinator garden.

Do Pollinator Gardens Take a Lot of Work to Start?

A beautiful thing about pollinator gardens is that you can do as much or as little work on them as you want after doing a little prep work. The garden can be as small as a window box or as large as a meadow that takes up your entire yard. Just place it in a nice sunny spot and provide the right conditions, and you will make our pollinator friends happy.


Pollinator gardening is some of the most economical gardening you can do. You can start your garden with seeds that you have saved or purchased from a reputable seller like Ferry-Morse. Starting with seed takes a bit more prep work as you have to remove the plants and vegetation currently in the space.

Or, you can use transplants. When using transplants, there are two types of plants to use. Full plants that have some size to them or plugs. Plugs are cheaper, young plants that come in small two-inch tubes that you can buy in large quantities. If you are planting a larger area, using plugs or seeds is the way to go.

It would help if you also looked around online for offers from organizations that support pollinator gardens. Many offer resources in the way of discounts or free seeds or plants to support the creation of pollinator gardens.

What Plants to Include in a Pollinator Garden

Start with native wildflowers that support local pollinators. Milk weeds, coneflowers, Monarda, solidago, beardtongue, yarrow, coreopsis, and witch hazel for the winter months are all great plants for pollinators. Adding some native grasses is a good idea as well to give support and structure to your flowers. Do some research, and you will find the choices are extremely varied, depending on your USDA hardiness zone. The main goal is to have blooms that provide a food source for as long as possible to the maximum number of pollinators. Try to choose plants that bloom year-round to keep your pollinator visitors happy and your garden looking beautiful.

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Sustaining a Pollinator Garden

Pollinator gardens that contain mostly native wildflowers that grow in a variety of conditions are usually easy to maintain. Trees and shrubs are often included as well. Choose plants that are adaptable when it comes to soil and drought.

Once the garden is planted and established, besides occasional weeding, it requires almost no supplemental care and very little extra work. Think what flowers and vegetation you would see in a meadow in a field and consider—who fertilizes, weeds, and waters the milkweed, coneflowers, and bee balm there?

Does One Pollinator Garden Matter?

Yes! Creating an interconnected web of pollinator gardens is a goal vital to restoring balance to our ecosystem. This will allow local growers to produce food and commercial growers to continue to produce billions of dollars worth of crops for international consumption. A strong ecosystem allows plants and trees to improve air quality and helps stem off the effects of climate change.

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Keys to a Good Pollinator Garden

There are a few elements that you need to include to make your garden a success. They are simple, easily done, and affordable but will make your garden into an elite Pollinator Bed and Breakfast:

  1. Use plants that give a source of food, shelter, and a place to raise young pollinators throughout the year.
  2. Provide a water source.
  3. Create large "drifts" of various native plants.
  4. Place the garden in a sunny location, preferably with some area sheltered from the wind.
  5. Never use pesticides. You cannot use pesticides in a pollinator garden and still classify it as a pollinator garden.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

About Pollinator Gardens

A pollinator garden is designed to provide food and shelter to animals such as bees, birds, butterflies, moths, wasps, bats, and small mammals that pollinate plants supporting the local ecosystem and food web. These gardens are crucial due to the decline of pollinators, attributed to habitat loss and pesticide use. Pollinator gardens can be of any size, from a window box to a meadow, and can be started with seeds or transplants. Native wildflowers, grasses, trees, and shrubs are typically included to support local pollinators. Once established, pollinator gardens are relatively easy to maintain and play a vital role in restoring balance to the ecosystem, supporting local growers, and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Key Concepts Related to Public Speaking

  1. Introduction to Public Speaking: Public speaking involves face-to-face attempts to inform, persuade, or entertain a group of people through words, physical delivery, and visual or audio aids. An effective introduction should include an attention getter, introduction of the topic, speaker credibility, and forecasting of main points .

  2. Motivating the Audience: Motivating the audience to listen in the introduction is critical to establish a connection between the speaker and the audience. Providing a brief list of reasons why they should listen to the speech is an effective means of establishing this connection .

  3. Structuring the Speech: Organizing speeches helps improve clarity of thought in a systematic way and increases the likelihood that the speech will be effective. Audiences are unlikely to understand disorganized speeches and are less likely to perceive disorganized speakers as reliable or credible .

  4. Learning With Understanding: Transfer of knowledge is made possible to the extent that knowledge and learning are grounded in multiple contexts. When concepts are taught only in one context, students often miss seeing the concepts' applicability to solving novel problems encountered in real life, in other classes, or in other disciplines .

  5. Overview of Interpersonal Communication: Self-concept develops over time through communication with others. Building and maintaining relationships involve learning about oneself and others through sharing information and experiences .

These concepts provide a foundational understanding of public speaking, including effective introduction, audience motivation, speech structure, learning with understanding, and interpersonal communication.

I hope this information is helpful! If you have any further questions or need more details on any of these concepts, feel free to ask.

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