The planet’s overheated, a million species are threatened with extinction and pollinators need our help. Use our 3 tips for a pollinator-friendly yard and garden to create a healthy ecosystem outside your home that provides desperately needed food and habitat year-round.
If we continue destroying the environment, reducing pollinator food and habitat and spraying toxic chemicals on anything we consider to be a nuisance, we’ll have no food left to eat. We need the pollinators – honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, beetles, bats, and birds – because they are crucial to a healthy ecosystem and are responsible for pollinating 75 percent of the food we eat.
The good news is that you can make a huge difference in the health of our pollinators just by making a few important changes in your yard. You will likely save money and definitely have more beauty and diversity to behold. I guarantee you will feel incredible joy at being part or a movement that’s taking America and the world by storm.
3 Tips for a Pollinator-Friendly Yard and Garden
Join the Unlawning Movement
Lawns in the US are a vast monoculture which provide absolutely zero value to nature. Instead, they suck up precious water resources and cost homeowners money to feed, weed, mow, and blow. The feeding and weeding usually involve paying a lawn service to regularly spray toxic chemicals on your lawn to get rid of clover and dandelions (which the animals and pollinators would really enjoy) along with broad-leaf weeds (which can be treated organically) and post warning signs to signal just how dangerous they are. We’re paying people to poison us?
How is this rational behavior?
Wouldn’t you rather provide a smorgasbord for animals and pollinators? I’m not talking about deer! The rabbits and woodchucks are having such a great time feasting on clover and dandelion from my lawn that they’re ignoring my raised beds.
We all bought into the idea of a beautiful green lawn, but now we know better. It’s time to unlawn. How much lawn do you really need?
Unless you use your lawn to host sports games, you can probably do without most of it and all the associated work and expense. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy beautiful flowering plants and trees that feed and provide habitat for our precious pollinators?
The Great American Unlawning has begun. Are you in?
Plant native, pollinator friendly plants
Instead of grass or non-native ornamentals, grow native pollinator-friendly plants, bushes and trees which provide nectar and habitat for our pollinators. It’s so much fun to watch as they sip nectar, buzz around and flit from flower to flower, plant to plant and tree to tree.
Bee balm, coneflower (Echinacea), black-eyed Susan, Penstemon beard tongue, milkweed (butterfly weed), fireweed, and more native pollinator-friendly flowering plants can be found in garden centers, including Gilbertie’s Herbs and Garden Center in Westport, which has a dedicated space for these plants along with expert guidance.
Shrubs and trees like American cranberry bush viburnum (Highbush Cranberry) and Dogwood are great choices according to many sources that underscore their role in providing food and pollen in early spring. The American cranberry bush, which I have in my yard, grows quickly and can reach 15 feet tall. This beautiful viburnum provides three season ornamental interest with flowers in spring, berries in late summer and crimson leaves in the fall while requiring no maintenance. Mine has been pest free for years.
Get synthetic chemicals out of your yard and garden
Weed killers, synthetic fertilizers, tick spray, bug spray, chemical rodent traps – they all need to go. There are safer alternatives. Weeds for example can be killed with vinegar. Just spray them when the sun is shining and no rain is expected. Neem oil is great for dealing with garden pests while protecting beneficial insects and is commonly used in organic gardening. You can find the product in most garden centers. Please follow the package instructions and keep all products away from children.
The synthetic chemical weed killer RoundUp, which has been found to cause cancer in three recent lawsuits, the latest of which awarded the plaintiffs $2B, is the most widely used herbicide in the world. Please remove it from your arsenal.
The Pollinator Pathway movement is growing across Connecticut and Westport kicked off their project last month, joining Wilton, Easton, Norwalk, Darien, and many other towns in CT. Sustainne is promoting this initiative and we urge you to take 1 minute to pledge online here (free) and order a Pollinator Pathway sign to display prominently in your yard. Sustainne home, yard and garden business members help homeowners and anyone else with too much grass to successfully join the movement. Please join today!
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
Need some help unlawning, designing, planting, and going organic? Turn to our trusted business members who are experts in organic and edible landscaping and gardening for all your needs.
MowGreen Electric & Organc Lawn Care – how much should I unlawn and where? Caring for the lawn you want organically and with zero emissions (solar powered electric equipment).
Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center – featuring a native pollinator-friendly selection of spring plantings + USDA Certified Organic herb and vegetable starts
Back to Nature – full service permaculture design, installation and maintenance including edibles, pollinator-friendly and biodiverse plantings, beekeeping, rainwater harvesting, chicken coops, and raised beds.