Biodiversity, Rain Gardens and Butterflies Oh My!

Butterflies love bright flowers

Some of the design principles that go in to planning your rain garden can also attract biodiversity to your outdoor environment.  Biodiversity is just a fancy way of talking about drawing butterflies, birds and beneficial insects to your garden. As those massive blankets of snow we saw over winter begin to thaw and we start thinking about plantings for our new gardens, we should consider choosing colorful, fragrant native plants.  These choices support your rain garden and are attractive for all sorts of important creatures.  From humming birds to bees, our outdoor spaces would not be complete with out visits from wildlife.  Nothing is more satisfying than sitting on your back patio watching the bees and butterflies in their spring dance, pollinating and loving life.  Take a moment to choose plants for your rain garden that will get our pollinators going.

 

 

Take a look at this excerpt from an article we wrote last year to get you thinking about planning!

 

To get started, check out this sweet video that my son, Nick put together last spring in my yard when the apple trees were blooming. St. Croix Valley Bees on YouTube

You can see several types of bees and a sphinx moth (one of my favorites!) in the bee balm.

Why is landscaping for pollinators Important?

It is estimated that pollinators are needed for the reproduction of 90% of flowering plants and one third of human food crops. We depend on these industrious pollinators to provide us with the wide range of foods we eat. In addition, pollinators are part of the intricate web that supports the diversity in natural ecosystems that helps sustain our quality of life. Unfortunately, the numbers of both native pollinators and domesticated bee populations are declining. Habitat loss, disease, and pesticides threaten them. Whether you have many acres or own a small lot, you can increase the number of pollinators in your area by making a conscience choice to include plants that provide essential habitat for bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

In my garden I provide a range of plants that offer a succession of flowers, and thus pollen and nectar, through the whole growing season. Last year the bees and butterflies were amazing! My yard was buzzing for days on end. Patches of habitat can be created in many different locations, from backyards and school grounds to golf courses and city parks. Even a small area planted with good flowers will be beneficial for local bees, because each patch will add to the mosaic of habitat available to bees and other pollinators. Native plants are usually best as the nectar is more plentiful, and can be used in both wild areas and gardens. They seem to prefer a variety of bright colors – yellows, reds, oranges, purples and bright pinks. Don’t forget those lilacs, they are blooming! Come back next week for a thorough discussion of how to capitalize on a small space.

Lovely Lilacs in Bloom

The list below gives a great starting point for choosing your plantings:

Flowers:

Moonbeam coreopsis

Speedwell

Phlox

Columbine (all varieties)

Japanese anemone

Bee balm

Crocus

Asters

Echinacea

Milkweed

Goldenrod

Shrubs:

Butterfly bush

Viburnum (all varieties)

Honeysuckle

Highbush Blueberry

Barberry

Elderberry

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