Create a Pollinator Garden
Pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds are an important part of Leduc’s ecosystem. Creating gardens and landscapes that provide food, water and safe shelter for pollinators can help ensure their populations flourish and enhance natural plant biodiversity. It will also assist nearby farms produce food for us and animals alike.
What to plant
Native plants are often the best option, but old-fashioned or heirloom non-native varieties of plants and herbs can also be quite beneficial. Residents are encouraged to speak with a local greenhouse to learn about which plants and trees will thrive in the area. It’s also important to ask about which invasive and noxious species to avoid planting as some ornamental plants can negatively impact our ecosystem and become a backyard nuisance. Other pollinator garden suggestions are listed below.
|Late Spring to Early Summer:
|This prairie stunner has bright yellow leaves and dark centres. It is also a preferred nectar source of the Poweshiek skipperling, an endangered tall grass prairie butterfly.
|Eye-catching orange blooms are a favourite of hummingbirds. Don't dig them out from the roadside - go find a reputable native plan greenhouse.
|Pretty purple flowers with an amazing scent (and the leaves smell great, too). Bergamont is an all-around good source of nectar for bees, butterflies and humminbirds.
|A late summer bloomer that is a favourite of bees in local gardens. Goldenrod can also attract native aphids, which bring a vareity of other beneficial insects to eat them, including ladybugs.
|This gard version is native to Europe. When they are in bloom, they are covered with bees all day long. When using non-native old-fashioned plants in your garden, make sure they are not invasive in your area.
|Bees and butterflies alike love these plants!
|These flowers are frequented by butterflies and are very pretty. Low milkweed is a variety common to the Edmonton area.
|They come in a huge variety of sizes and colours. A favourite is the prairie sunflower.
|These are a great early season nectar source for bees. A flowering cherry tree in your yard can attract hundreds of bees at a time!
Tips and tricks
When planting a pollinator garden, you may consider the following tips and tricks.
- If you do not have space to create a new garden, try incorporating plants into your existing gardens
- Pollinators are attracted to flowers based on a variety of different characteristics (i.e., colour and scent, amount of nectar and pollen, and shape of the flower itself)
- Flowers that are clustered in groups of at least a one metre in diameter are more attractive to pollinators than flowers that are scattered throughout the garden
- A succession of flowering plants that last from spring through the fall will support a range of bee and pollinator species
- Flowers of different shapes will attract different types of pollinators
- Flowering fruit trees (i.e., plums, apples, and cherries) and other trees (i.e., lindens, maydays, poplars and willows) will attract pollinators
- Flowers with bright colours, like blue, purple and yellow, are attractive to native pollinators
- White flowers that have a strong scent are also attractive, especially to night-time pollinators like moths and flies
- Provide habitat for pollinators to live; exposed soil, standing litter, food plants for different life stages and a place to overwinter are all important
- Provide a water source for pollinators to stay hydrated; shallow water dishes with stones are perfect
- Pesticides are a major threat to insect pollinators; avoid using them anywhere in your yard
Natural methods to control weeds
Many families are out walking and exploring our community at this time of year so please remember to avoid unnecessary spraying of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. One method for dealing with weeds in your pollinator garden is through prevention and a quick response. To help you maintain a healthy lawn and garden, consider the following tips:
- Ensure there is 15 to 25 cm of soil and or compost to establish a healthy lawn
- Crowd out weeds by over-seeding your lawn
- Maintain your gardens with native plants suitable for plant hardiness Zone 3
- Hand pull or dig out weeds and their root system
- Mow weeds before they go to seed