Zinnias are a long-blooming pollinator favorite, including hummingbirds!
As Earth Day approaches on April 22, we’re getting excited to celebrate and do something positive for the environment. Lately, we’ve been talking about how to garden like it’s Earth Day every day. What does this mean? We outlined four key ways that you can make positive impacts with your garden on a daily basis!
Plant Native As Much As You Can
Plant Pollinators' Favorite Varieties
Provide Blooms And Habitat All Season Long
Do All That You Can, Big Or Small
Milkweed is an essential source of food for monarch butterflies
1. Plant Native As Much As You Can
Why plant native? There are dozens of reasons to add plants that are native to your climate, but we’ll focus on two of our favorite.
Native plants have evolved in your region to survive, which means they want to grow in your garden! Native plants often require less maintenance, water and fertilizer than non-natives. This is a tremendous help to both the gardener and the environment.
It has been proven that native plant species are better at supporting pollinators and local wildlife in your area, including bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and more. Studies show that even a small increase in native plants in one garden can help boost the number of pollinators and wildlife visiting that area.
Swamp Milkweed and Butterfly Weed are great natives to add to your garden to help support the struggling monarch butterfly population. Milkweed is essential for monarchs, because it provides breeding grounds and their primary food source throughout the entire span of their lifecycle.
We like to add as many native plants as we can to our gardens so we can offer up habitat, breeding grounds, and food for pollinators all season long.
This garden pictured above is filled with non-native butterfly bush and daylilies, making a perfect place for a bee or butterfly to stop by.
If you’ve grown varieties like Butterfly Bush, Catmint (a unique perennial), Lavender, Sedum, Zinnia or Daises, you’ve experienced the constant buzz of pollinators coming to and from these varieties. And although they aren’t native, each offer up a specific function and food source for bees, butterflies and birds. Some of these non-natives – like Zinnia – are also long-blooming, providing a long-lasting source of nectar from early summer all the way until frost.
Sedum is a fantastic late-blooming variety for pollinators - this employee photo was taken in early October in Vermont.
3. Provide Blooms And Habitat All Season Long
In a perfect world, our gardens are a mix of native varieties, along with non-native pollinator favorites, for color and nectar from early spring all the way through frost. Providing blooms for birds, butterflies, and bees from spring until frost makes their migration journeys much easier - and therefor improves their chances of survival.
Late-season varieties such as Aster,Sedum and Goldenrod are an important source of food and energy for Monarchs heading south in the fall.
Along with your long-blooming garden filled with native plants and pollinator-favories, it's also helpful to provide a source of water for wildlife, such as a birdbath.
If you have a small space to garden in, planting pollinator favorite Marigolds, and providing a water source, can go a long way for a tired butterfly on its journey!
4. Do All That You Can, Big Or Small
There are so many different types of gardens and gardeners out there! Maybe you have acres of land and time to commit to create a Monarch Waystation. Or maybe you’re just starting out with window boxes on your city balcony, and you choose to plant pollinator-friendly plants in containers. When each of us does all that we can, big or small, we can make life a little easier for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.
So, this Earth Day, let’s celebrate the work we’re doing in our gardens all year long! We truly hope you’ll join us in this initiative to garden like it’s Earth Day every day.
Shop American Meadows Pollinator Friendly Wildflowers
With its abundance of nectar-rich blooms, the Butterfly & Hummingbird Wildflower Seed Mix can be planted to attract beautiful pollinators in any region of the country. Containing 16 annual and perennial wildflowers including Wild Cosmos, Rocket Larkspur, Echinacea and Catchfly, this diverse blend delivers stunning color throughout the season. A great choice for a variety of soil types, this mix contains only 100% pure, non-GMO and neonicotinoid-free seeds. Guaranteed to grow.
The Monarch Butterfly Wildflower Mix is an easy-to-grow compilation of 27 wildflowers that will thrive in any sunny location throughout the US. Including 4 different types of Milkweed to ensure Monarchs have plenty of host plants to lay their eggs on, this mix also contains a variety of nectar-rich wildflowers for energizing monarch populations before they migrate. A blend of annuals and perennials provide early and lasting color. This is your go-to mixture for creating an official Monarch Waystation or simply helping out the local pollinators in your area.
This mixture attracts beneficial bugs to the garden. Beneficial bugs include lacewings, lady bugs, hover flies and parasitic wasps, which help to destroy harmful pests such as aphids, thrips and mites.
The Honey Bee Wildflower Mix features 19 nectar-rich wildflowers and clovers adored by bees. Easy to grow across much of the country (zones 1 - 8), this pollinator-friendly mix includes 12 annual varieties like Lacy Phacelia and Yellow Prairie Coneflower for quick, first-season blooms, and 7 perennial wildflowers like Mexican Hat and Echinacea for years of lasting color in the seasons to follow. Contains 100% Pure, non-GMO and Neonicotinoid-free seeds that are guaranteed to grow.
Phenomenal Lavender has it all: exceptionally tolerant of both high heat and harsh winter, this easy-to-grow lavender even shows resistance to the effects of humidity. Highly fragrant with concentrated essential oils, Phenomenal's spikes of purple-blue flowers attract butterflies and bees to the garden. Edible, deer-resistant and fast-growing, this silver-leafed lavender has left all other new introductions in the dust! (Lavandula x intermedia) PP#24193
The large, fragrant flower clusters of Joe Pye Weed are always abuzz with pollinator activity. Their abundant nectar provides a vital food source from late summer into fall. This low-maintenance native plant is rabbit- and deer-resistant and thrives in moist soil. Give this tall, majestic perennial plenty of room and it will spread to form impressive stands. (Eupatorium maculatum)
Among the most dramatic of all the Solidago species, Showy Goldenrod sports torch-like wands of brilliant ochre yellow flowers in mid to late summer. Goldenrods long-lasting blooms an abundance of pollen attracts bees and beneficial insects,making it ideal for pollinator gardens. This rugged, easy-to-grow native plant will naturalize to form a large swath to brighten your late-season landscape. (Solidago)
Butterfly Weed is the iconic, bright orange beauty that's a staple in every butterfly garden. This showy native wildflower is easy to grow, cold hardy, and does well in poor, dry soils. Long-lasting clusters of small, flat-topped flowers are crowned with a yellow, sun-kissed "corona" and bloom from June through August. Butterfly Weed is an important nectar source for Monarch butterflies and its leaves provide essential food for developing Monarch caterpillars - but expect to see a variety of pollinators making use of this plant. Please note the Bag of 3 are bareroots. (Asclepias tuberosa)