Editor’s note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Office’s Master Gardener Program, appears during the growing season. It features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.
Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are wonderful pollinators that provide benefit to our landscape.
National Pollinator Week, June 15-21, is a time to consider creating a welcoming habitat for pollinators. About one-third of our natural food supply relies on pollinators.
Thanks to the abundance of moisture we have received over the past month, it’s time to get growing, and while we’re at it, plant something beneficial to pollinators.
How can we help?
Create a three-season pollinator garden by providing plenty of blooming plants throughout the growing season. Spring flowering plants include choke cherry, maple, fruit trees, forsythia, lilac, candytuft, alyssum, hyssop, creeping phlox and catmint.
Add summer bloomers such as golden currant, honeysuckle, borage, blanket flower, coneflower, calendula and lavender.
Continue with a progression of flowers through late fall by planting blue mist spirea, butterfly bush, Russian sage, asters, salvia, sedum, yarrow, coreopsis and sunflowers. Try to also include long blooming flowers and ground covers such as periwinkle, rock cress and ice plants.
If you live on acreage, consider improving soil by planting Dutch white clover, alfalfa or buckwheat. There are so many beautiful and hardy plant choices for Southwest Colorado.
Limited by space?
Consider growing a container herb garden of wonderfully fragrant herbs such as basil, chives, sage, thyme, tarragon, mint, rosemary and lavender to attract bees.
Have plenty of space?
Plant a vegetable garden with tomatoes, carrots, beans and peas for you and pollinators, a win-win situation.
Carefully consider your land-management plan. Some chemicals used to kill weeds or insect pests may be toxic to pollinators. Provide a fresh water source for pollinators – a shallow dish of water with some pebbles will keep bees from drowning.
Ask your local nursery for the best choices for your particular growing situation, and remember the Colorado Master Gardener mantra of “right plant, right place.”
Pollinators are attracted to flowers by their scent, bright colors and flower shape.
Judy Bolton has been a Colorado Master Gardener since 2015. She lives in La Plata County.