The Benefits of Creating Pollinator Habitat
Cherry Hills Land Preserve Learns with Lucinda Greene
About 25 people gathered on April 22nd – Earth Day – to learn more about the benefits of creating pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes with Lucinda Greene, the new Colorado Master Gardener Program Coordinator in Arapahoe County and former Cherry Hills Land Preserve Executive Director. Why should we care about pollinators? Pollinator habitat is disappearing, which affects all of us. Pollinators are animal species – bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds, and even bats – that provide pollination services to 70% of the world’s flowering plants, essential for producing fruits and seeds. A honeybee must visit 2 million flowers in order to make 1 pound of honey, pollinating many plants that benefit us all.
With more pavement, fewer natural/wild landscapes, and garden chemicals that harm bees and other good insects, pollinators are shrinking in numbers. We can support pollinator habitat by planting with a purpose:
- Provide plant diversity with various heights (for diverse pollinators);
- Plant in groups to encourage foraging;
- Design for blooms during every phase of growing season;
- Think about connections to guide pollinators between gardens and yards;
- Choose plants and pest management tools wisely:
- Choose Native and Plant Select varieties from your local nursery
- Avoid neonicotinoids (a chemical known to be harmful to pollinators).
Lucinda shared sample Native plants for beautiful spring, summer, and fall gardens, and encouraged the use of Plant Select species that are tested and recommended by CSU and the Denver Botanic Garden to thrive in our climate and environment. Bonus points: they use less water and are disease-resistant. For a list of her suggested plants and a list of online resources for designing pollinator-friendly gardens, click HERE. For example, chocolate flowers are well adapted to our local environment, and smell like chocolate when you brush past them.
She also recommended visiting Demonstration Gardens for planting ideas, like the one at Holly and Quincy designed by the Cherry Hills Garden Club. CHLP has donated funds for two Demonstration Gardens at Quincy Farm, a 100-year old farm donated by the late Cat Anderson. Emily Black, the City’s Parks & Recreation Coordinator, explained that the gardens will be installed this spring, and that the Quincy Farm property is protected by a conservation easement that recommends the use of natural and organic weed control methods whenever possible.
And now the bad news… the best way to control Japanese Beetles is still the old-fashioned hard way. Sweep them off leaves in the early morning and drown them in soapy water. CSU does not recommend beetle traps as they attract MORE beetles, but if you do, be sure to hang them 30 feet away from the infested plants. For more information on the Japanese Beetle please click HERE.