Did you know that pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat everyday?
There are 430 different bee species in New York State alone, but sadly they are in trouble due to pesticides and losses in nesting habitats. Many colonies are lost to colony collapse disorder a problem whose cause is not fully understood.
Through our pollinator workshop, the students at the Churchill School & Center did their part to protect their native city dwelling bees. As pictured, their flower pots show that you don’t need a lot of space to start a pollinator garden. Here’s how they did it:
Step One: Go native with your flowers. Plant flowers that are pesticide free and local to the area. Good plants for pollinators include: aromatic herbs, colorful nectar rich flowers, and wild grasses. The students planted spearmint, violet luscious grape, blue supertunia bordeaux, orange luscious citrus blend, and local Sunset Park wheatgrass by Union Square Grassman. Bees are particularly drawn to blue flowers. The Churchill students being as pollinator inclusive as they are, also planted orange luscious citrus blend to attract red loving hummingbirds and butterflies. The orange luscious citrus blend has quickly become a yard favorite because of its amazing citrusy nectar scent.
Step Two: Add water to the mix. Bees use mud to build their homes. Butterflies sip at shallow pools, mud puddles, and birdbaths. Here the students created “landing pads” by digging shallow holes outlined by a few stones. Butterflies especially love lighter colored stones. We have spotted quite a few perching themselves on the stones to cool off these past hot summer days.
Step Three: Materials for home improvement. Create small piles of twigs and brush. Bees and birds will use these materials to build their nests.
Follow these steps, and like the garden at Churchill, and you will have a beautiful garden that delights your senses and supports our garden helpers, the pollinators.
This post was written by Gisselle Madariaga, Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp Assistant Camp Director