Native Plants Make for a Happy Pollinator Week

This week, Blue Water Baltimore is celebrating National Pollinator Week. Pollinating animals are critical to a healthy ecosystem as well as to urban gardens and farms, so having an excuse to call attention to these vital critters is a welcome one.

Did you know that 75% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators? Or that 1/3 of all foods and beverages depend on pollinators? Having a variety of native plants and a pesticide-free yard are two great ways to encourage more pollinators like bees, butterflies, bats, birds, etc. in your yard.

To that end, each day this week Herring Run Nursery is highlighting on its Facebook page a native plant of particular value to pollinators. Yesterday we featured New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus) and today we featured butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Many of these pollinator plants, and many others, will be available at the nursery when we resume retail sales.

Pollinator Week was initiated and is managed by the non-profit Pollinator Partnership, which has a wealth of resources available.

Butterflyweed is not just for butterflies. Many pollinators use it.

The Pollinator Partnership has produced two planting guides for Baltimore, one specific to the Piedmont region (i.e. west of I-83) and one for the Coastal Plain region (i.e. east of I-83). Both are PDF files and are filled with great information and excellent plant ideas.

Much of the same data is available in the handy new Bee Smart™ Pollinator Gardener app, available free for iPhone and Android smart phone users. You simply enter your zip code and you get an on-the-go list of pollinator-friendly plants to use while shopping for plants.

The Bee Smart Pollinator Gardener app is handy guide to pollinator plants.

Locally on Friday June 18th in Bowie, Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ biologist Kerry Wixted is presenting “Maryland Pollination: Exploring the World of Pollinators” at 7pm.

And on Sunday, June 24th Community Greening Resource Network (CGRN) is conducting a pollinator plant give away in Herring Run Park in conjunction with our rain barrel workshop. Although the give-away is limited to CGRN members, memberships are inexpensive and you can join at the event. Hundreds of pollinator-friendly plants, including many berry bushes, will be available. Email CGRN for more information.

So, celebrate Pollinator Week by learning more about these important animals and by adding some great native plants to your garden.

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