Welcoming Pollinators

“Butterflies are self-propelled flowers.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein

The flutter of small, bright wings amongst the flowers is a welcome sight for gardeners. Butterflies bring a fresh spark of life to our gardens and homes with brilliant colors and helpful pollination. The life of a butterfly is fleeting but exhilarating, pollinating flowers and migrating great distances to find a new home. Our gardens are graced as they venture through.

Hummingbirds, however, may live up to a decade or more—long enough to become a regular Spring visitor in your garden. Their quick flights and seemingly motionless pauses for a drink of nectar make one admire their tireless energy.

The busy bee is another spring visitor that inspires anyone with an appreciation for nature. Probably the most efficient pollinator, our food supply and gardens are healthier, brighter and more colorful with the help of these industrious little creatures.

Here are a few tricks to tempt them to visit your garden and keep it teeming with colorful life:

Butterfly Features

  • Mud puddles: make sure to leave a little water for butterflies to drink and pull needed minerals from the soil.
  • Shelter: a few plants against a fence or shrub to protect resting butterflies against the wind. A log or woodpile also does the trick.
  • Dark rocks: butterflies thrive in hot weather. Give them their own “charging station” with black rock features.

Hummer on Coral BellsHummingbird Feeders

  • Design: A bright red feeder will catch the eye of your hummingbird visitors.
  • Solution (1:4) – One cup of sugar to four cups of water. Do not use honey or red dye.
  • Clean the feeder at least once a week with hot soapy water and a boiling water rinse. Then refill the feeder with fresh solution. Old solution can ferment.
  • The color red attracts hummingbirds initially to your garden. Nectar filled flowers will keep them returning.

Bee Treats

  • Cross pollination is their specialty.
  • Crops like strawberries, pickling cucumbers, apples and herbs are a few favorites.
  • Flowering plants, including ornamental trees and shrubs, get their motors humming.
  • Berries and seeds created by plants pollinated by bees have an added bonus of feeding wildlife during winter.

Attractive Plants

When it comes to pollinators, not all flowers are created equal. Certain colors and varieties of plants will attract these happy springtime guests more than others. We’ve got a full list of our own homegrown plants that our winged friends adore. This is the perfect resource for the gardener looking to create an inviting garden that others (both humans and animals) can enjoy as well.

MVG – Grower of Pollinator Friendly Plants