Planting a Regional Pollinator Garden
Some species like goldenrod and spring azure butterflies, Celastrina ladon, are found in many areas across the country, while other plant and insect populations are limited geographically. However, even widespread insect species may utilize different host plants throughout their range. This brings us back to the concept of “regional” pollinator gardens.
Focusing on localized plant-pollinator relationships ensures gardeners are providing the resources that pollinators utilize in their little corner of the world.
A regional focus also supports species with localized distributions, which are often more vulnerable to habitat loss.
So how do you identify appropriate native plants to attract pollinators to the landscape? The non-profit Xerxes Society is an excellent resource, providing regional lists of pollinator plants and associated insects. Another option is to take a walk. Trekking nature trails in your area will reveal plants swarming with life. These are the local plants favored by local pollinators.
Carry a plant guide and make note of the plants you see covered in pollinators. These will vary throughout the year. If you are unable to identify the plants take a photo and seek the assistance of an area native plant society.
Country roads and vacant lots are also good places to study native plants, but these areas also harbor plenty of non-natives. Look for the pollinators to guide your search.
While you might be tempted to dig plants or collect seed from wild populations, resist the urge. Once you have determined which species to add to the garden, locate seed from a reliable commercial source like American Meadows, leaving natural populations intact.
About the Author: Kimberly Toscano blends her formal training in horticulture and entomology with her passion for design to educate and inspire gardeners. Learn more at KimToscano.com.
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