By Hannah Van Sickle
The recent prevalence of fine, yellow dust coating everything in sight from cars to countertops—pollen from the native white pine—is a not so welcome reminder that June is National Pollinator Month. Bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles (just to name a few) are all pollinators that positively affect our lives; in fact, they provide a valuable—albeit nearly invisible—ecosystem service in nature by traveling from plant to plant, carrying pollen on their bodies, in an exchange that is fundamental to the reproductive system of most flowering plants. In fact, pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops. Pollinators are integral not only to the food we eat, but also to the plants that clean our air and the habitats that support wildlife. In short, pollinators are absolutely necessary in nature!
Did you know that you can support nature’s pollinator population through the choices you make in your own backyard? For starters, make room for pollinators in your landscape. A pollinator-friendly garden, one full of nectar and pollen-rich flowers, is best achieved through a succession of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs that ensure that nectar and pollen is available throughout the growing season. From alyssum to zinnia, the choices are endless; the professionals at Nature Works Organic Land Care can assist you in choosing a variety of native species to support pollinators in your own backyard—plants that form the distinctive living communities that make New England so beautiful. Whether you have room for a whole flowering meadow or just a few carefully filled planters, welcoming pollinators is the first step in restoring healthy communities of beneficial insects and pollinators.
The misuse of chemicals in our landscapes is cited—along with pollution, disease, and climate change—as contributing to the shrinking and shifting pollinator populations. Choosing natural and organic based products for the maintenance of your property—like those used in the Nature Works Organic Lawn Care— not only protects your family and pets, but also provides a safe and effective alternative to conventional, chemically-based lawn care programs that actually contribute to the creation of sterile environments that deter pollinators. Restoring and improving your soil, for high performing, natural lawns, ensures that pollinators will not only be attracted to your property but they will want to stay.
“People have a real desire to connect with nature whether they know it or not,” says Rich Lassor, founder and owner of Nature Works. “Natural beauty feeds people’s souls,” he adds which—when it comes to pollinators—means making them feel at home. Providing shelter, in the guise of a hedgerow or a portion of your lawn that you allow to grow wild, will give pollinators safety from predators and protection from the elements in which to rear their young. Finally, consider a source of water: constructing a water garden, installing a birdbath, or simply providing a catch basin for rain will ensure that bees, birds, and butterflies will remain well-hydrated in their new home on your property.