Lead The Way: Three Ways To Support Pollinators In Your Community

Our pollinators are in trouble, and it is time to do something about it. Growers are in a unique position to lead out in their communities by promoting plants and natives that attract pollinators, providing education that dispels misinformation and participating in outreach efforts that help incorporate pollinators into the community.

 

 

Teach Community Members That Not All Plants Attract Pollinators
Community members who want to attract pollinators are often well intentioned but misinformed about what makes up an effective pollinator garden. Who better than growers to fill these educational gaps by helping them understand what types of plants work best, especially because pollinators are so particular about the plants they choose for food and nesting.

For example, Lois Stack, a plant and soil science professor at The University of Maine, has noticed in her fieldwork that single-flowered French marigolds attract more bees than double-flowered French marigolds and that white-flowered borage attracts more bees than blue-flowered sage does.

And along with plant type and colors, gardeners need to be informed about the importance of bloom time and grouping of plants to attract pollinators. They need to be encouraged to mix it up when it comes to their choice of plant materials.

“Plants need to be blooming in succession from spring into autumn. Flowers need to bloom at the right time of the year so pollen is available for insects,” says Carrie Wiles of North Creek Nurseries. “Choosing plants with various flower colors, shapes and sizes is important. Additionally, planting species en masse is more effective than single, individual flowers here and there.”

Zoltan Kovacs, of the Dümmen Group suggests including 40 percent trees and shrubs, 30 to 40 percent perennials and 30 percent annuals to provide a balanced mix of plants in the landscape that will attract a variety of wildlife.

Encourage Community Members To Make Natives A Part Of Their Plant Mix

Native plants must be part of that plant mix for a pollinator garden to be successful. “The more diverse your collection of native plants, the more diverse the population of pollinators you will attract,” says Kristen Smith of Star Roses and Plants. “In many instances, native plants evolved in conjunction with their pollinators so the relationships are already well established.”

Encouraging the use of native plants in the community presents growers with an opportunity to diversify their product mix and reach out to new customers, according to Peggy Anne Montgomery of American Beauties Native Plants.

“Growers need to do a better job of branding native plants to draw attention to their special attributes,” Montgomery says. “Research shows that consumers want native plants, but cannot identify what is a native at the garden center level.”

Chuck Pavlich  of Terra Nova Nurseries suggests setting aside a special spot on the retail floor for natives and pollinator-friendly plants to make consumers’ shopping experiences easier.

“There is a big demand from gardeners for plants that attract wildlife to their outdoor living spaces,” Pavlich says. “Gardeners seek these plants out much like hummingbirds flock to agastache.”

Partner With The Community On Projects That Support Pollinators

Besides drawing attention to natives and pollinator-friendly plants in the retail setting, growers can make an impact in their communities through outreach and education.

One type of effort Angela Treadwell-Palmer of Plants Nouveau would like to see is for growers to work with children and educators to promote pollinators, especially bees, as important and vital to our existence. She says she sees too many children who are afraid of bees and other insects, who could benefit from some good education on the subject.

Along with education, outreach efforts can go a long way toward helping to incorporate pollinators in the community. Outreach doesn’t have to cost a lot, according to Diane Genco, a Monarch enthusiast and volunteer for America in Bloom, an organization that promotes nationwide beautification with plants through education and community involvement. Growers merely need to take stock of what resources they already have available. Genco offers several ways for growers to get involved in their community:

  • Sponsor a school garden
  • Give presentations for community groups or schools
  • Sponsor a tour of your facility and send people home with a pollinator plant
  • Create educational materials on pollinator plants
  • Partner with local garden clubs to fill community planters with pollinator-friendly plants
  • Sponsor a Monarch house
  • Ask  your employees to suggest a school, daycare center or other organization that you can collaborate with to support pollinators
  • Donate flats of pollinator plants for special events like Mother’s Day or Earth Day
  • Create a well-labeled pollinator garden for educational purposes
Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...

March 4, 2015

Nexus Corporation’s Cheryl Longtin Encourages Women To Seek Volunteer Leadership Opportunities

When Cheryl Longtin came to the horticulture business in 1994, she applied her experience in the automotive industry to promote the adoption of more technology in greenhouse production. Longtin says horticulture, with its rich family tradition, has long promoted women in the industry compared to other industries, but women in horticulture must continue to seek out opportunities to provide volunteer leadership in organizations that shape the future of the business.

Read More

March 4, 2015

Second Annual GreenhouseConnect Will Bring Growers and Suppliers Together in San Diego This October

Following a successful inaugural event in Tampa last fall, Greenhouse Grower has announced the dates of its second annual GreenhouseConnect: October 26-29, 2015. Representatives of an expected two dozen leading greenhouse operations from across the U.S. will join senior-level suppliers at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego for several days of one-on-one strategic meetings, a growers-only roundtable, informational sessions and a variety of networking events.

Read More
cultivate'15 logo

March 4, 2015

Cultivate’15: AmericanHort Announces What’s New

In an industry that has seen major changes occurring at a fast pace, many industry professionals leave Cultivate with their heads spinning and no clear idea of how to regroup and strategize. Cultivate’15 is “Changing the Game.” As this year’s focus, Changing the Game will call your attention to the ways in which our industry has changed and your opportunities to compete successfully.

Read More
Latest Stories

March 4, 2015

California Spring Trials Preview: 32 New Perennials For…

Perennials are hot and if this preview of the 2015 California Spring Trials is any indication, there are going to be some great new perennial introductions for 2016. We contacted the breeders who will be displaying their new varieties in California in April, and they gave us a sneak peek. Check out the slideshow to see some of the new perennials making their debut to the trade this spring.

Read More
Lavandula 'Meerlo' (Sunset Western Garden Collection)

March 3, 2015

Why You Will Still Grow Today’s Big Perennial 10 Years …

What will be the next big perennial? Breeders say it takes more than a splashy plant to distinguish itself in the market. Therefore, the question is not what will be the next big perennial, but rather what perennial performs well enough in the garden to have staying power in the market for years to come.

Read More
Heuch Pink Fizz_featured

March 2, 2015

Intergeneric Crosses Are A New Perennial Trend

Intergeneric crosses, oddities some botanists say are an impossibility, have made serious inroads in the perennial world.

Read More
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The G…

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More

February 18, 2015

California Spring Trials Sneak Peek: New Annuals For 20…

If you're like us and you can't wait until the 2015 California Spring Trials to see some of the new genetics that will be hitting the market in 2016, never fear. We contacted the breeders who will be displaying their new varieties in California in April, and they gave us a sneak peek. Check out our slideshow to see some of the new annuals making their debut to the trade this spring.

Read More
Athena Brazil Salvia 'Brazilian Purple'

February 18, 2015

ForemostCo And Athena Brazil Unite To Supply Unrooted P…

ForemostCo, Inc. and Athena Brazil have forged a working relationship to support each other in the unrooted perennial cuttings market for North America. The partnership, geared toward accommodating increasing demand for unrooted perennial cuttings in North America, adds diversity to a recently consolidated market.

Read More

February 17, 2015

Poinsettias Had Their Best Year In Many In 2014

Poinsettia growers report a strong year in 2014, thanks to a few conditions. Growers were encouraged by high plant quality, enthusiastic shoppers and a stronger, less saturated market for poinsettias throughout the selling season. Seasonal cold at just the right time put consumers in a festive mood to buy early and often, and with no big snowstorms to hold up shipments and a reduction of supply available in the market, the season was strong from start to finish.

Read More
Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'

February 17, 2015

Geranium Hybrid ‘Biokovo’ Dubbed 2015 Peren…

Geranium xcantabrigiense ‘Biokovo,' a naturally occurring hybrid of G. dalmaticum and G. macrorrhizum, is the Perennial Plant Association's top pick for 2015 Perennial of the Year. Learn why this tough, landscape geranium took home the prize.

Read More
Costa Farms' Season Premier 2015

February 4, 2015

Costa Farms’ 2015 Season Premier Reveals Newest V…

The annual Season Premier at Costa Farms in Miami, Fla., is the industry's very first peek at new varieties for debut the following year, even before the California Spring Trials, heralded widely as the jumping off point for new varieties. This year's event revealed breeders' best and brightest new varieties for 2016, shown in field trials, landscape trials and containers at Costa Farms tropical trial gardens. Plant breeders presented their new varieties to buyers and members of Lowe’s grower panel. Growers, brokers and other allied industry members, including Home Depot growers and buyers, were also able to peruse the grounds to see how the new varieties fared in the winter trials. Later this season, the hot and humid conditions at Costa’s summer trials will help identify the true performers.

Read More

January 28, 2015

All-America Selections Introduces Additional 2015 Winne…

All-America Selections has announced more 2015 AAS Winners, bringing the grand total of introductions for the 2015 gardening year to 25. The seven winners join the 12 announced last November and six announced last July. This year, AAS has had the most winners in one year since 1939.

Read More

January 28, 2015

Holiday Plant Trends And New Varieties

Growers had mixed feelings about the 2014 poinsettia season according to Greenhouse Grower's 2014 Poinsettia Survey. Read about their plans for 2015 and stay up to date on 14 of the newest cyclamen and poinsettia varieties on the market.

Read More

January 21, 2015

Pantone Marsala Plants To Grow In 2015 [Slideshow]

Marsala, an earthy wine-red color, is the Pantone Color of the Year for 2015, and it presents a great marketing opportunity to showcase Marsala-colored plants for outdoor and indoor decorating. Enjoy this round-up of plants with Marsala hues.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Liven Up Indoor And Outdoor Living With 24 New Tropical…

Uniquely colored foliage and vivid blooms are just two of the great features new tropicals and foliage plants add to energize indoor and outdoor spaces.

Read More

January 13, 2015

Take Purdue University’s Survey On Vegetatively P…

Do you have problems callusing or rooting vegetatively propagated perennials? The Purdue University Floriculture Lab would like to help you with these problems, but first the research team there needs your help.

Read More
Poinsettia 'Charon Red'

January 6, 2015

Dan Schantz Farm 2014 Poinsettia Trial Recap And 2015 D…

The 2014 Dan Schantz Poinsettia trials featured more than 170 poinsettia varieties. Here's a summary of the event, as well as a 2015 date for your calendar.

Read More

December 31, 2014

Engage Busy Consumers With Modern-Day Tropical And Foli…

Contemporary tropical and foliage plants fit right in with the hustle and bustle of the twenty-first century. Their versatility lends itself to countless uses both inside the house and out on the patio.

Read More

December 30, 2014

2015 California Spring Trials Are Just Around The Corn…

Are the California Spring Trials on your schedule for 2015? Before the busy growing season sidelines your plans, use this handy resource to get a jumpstart on registering for your trip.

Read More

December 29, 2014

Top 5 Slideshows Of 2014

These popular slideshows from 2014 highlight everything from new perennials, to new veggies, to California Spring Trials.

Read More