In Your Pollinator Garden

Garden front yard by Matthew Shepherd
Each month, we highlight a few seasonally-relevant gardening issues in our Bring Back the Pollinators enewsletter. You can find our archive of monthly tips below. No matter what time of year it is or how bad the weather may seem, there is always plenty of work to do in your garden, so please remember to watch this space for more monthly ideas!


Ephemerals – May 2016

Winter pessimism transitions to vernal optimism. A temporary balance between days and nights works to warm winter frozen earths. Warmth and water from thaws and rainfalls mediate momentary balance between above-ground and below-ground energies to wrest life from rest. Spring is a season of birth, marked by fertility and transience. Youthful impermanence may be epitomized Read more …

Think about nesting as you prepare for winter – November 2015

Hillary Sardinas This is the time of year when many of us winterize our gardens. Often this process involves mulching over bare soil between plants in order to conserve soil moisture, reduce runoff, and minimize the number of weedy plants that may spring up. But there is a consequence of mulching that many of us Read more …

Fall Flowers to Support Insect Trick-or-Treaters from Near and Far – October 2015

Nancy Lee Adamson Fall is often thought of as a time when the buzz of the natural world around us starts to go quiet. When it comes to insects, however, there is plenty of action on and around fall-blooming native plants. Goldenrods, asters, sunflowers, bush clovers, and other fall-blooming flowers are vital for many insects. Read more …

Making Your Garden Count – September 2015

This month in our In Your Garden feature we are diverging from the normal information about what you can do to improve your garden or tips on garden maintenance. Instead, we wanted to consider how your garden can be part of a larger movement. The National Pollinator Garden Network is a newly created partnership of Read more …

Let’s Diversify! Establishing Pollinator Plantings from Seed – August 2015

Written by Sarah Foltz Jordan Earlier this summer I went on a backpacking trip in Glacier National Park, where hundreds of different plants were growing in harmony on the mountain slopes, and every few steps revealed a wildflower I hadn’t yet seen, despite several days of hiking. Coming home to the Upper Midwest, I couldn’t Read more …

Making Room for Native Pollinator Plants by Controlling Weeds – July 2015

Gardens can get weedy. Sometimes that’s a good thing–even weeds can provide pollen and nectar for bees and other pollinators. But if you spent last year preparing your planting beds and the fall or spring seeding your pollinator friendly plants, the last thing you’ll want to see are weeds crowding out your flowers! Weeds can Read more …

Delectable Native Plants Attract a Very Special Crowd – May 2015

Agapostemon on sunflower by Nancy Lee Adamson, the Xerces Society. What do cherries, plums, serviceberries, black raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and crab apples have in common (apart from making your mouth water)? What about blueberries, cranberries, teaberries, and kinnikinnick? All are fruits of North American plants pollinated by native bees, flies, and other insects. Cherries and Read more …

Wildflowers: Harbingers of Spring – April 2015

The delicate blossoms of spring wildflowers are often the first splashes of color after a long winter. Some, like pasque flowers (Pulsatilla spp.), even push their blooms up through the snow. Spring wildflowers are a welcome sight for tickle bees and other early-emerging pollinators at a time when nectar and pollen sources can be scarce, Read more …

Searching for Spring Bumble Bees – March 2015

Last spring, the Xerces Society and its partners launched Bumble Bee Watch, a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. Since its launch, nearly 4,300 people have joined, and those users have submitted almost 5,000 records in 49 states and 11 Canadian provinces. We’ve received records of 35 different species, documented potential species invasions and locations of rare bumble bees, and collected lots of photos of our more common bumble bee friends. Wow, what a first year! Read more.

Facing Drought? Rip Up Your Lawn! – February 2015

If you live anywhere in the western United States, you are probably feeling the effects of the ongoing drought. Not only do lawns consume copious amount of water, they also provide next to nothing in the way of habitat for local fauna, pollinators included. The good news is, there couldn’t be a better time to tear out your lawn and replace that ugly patch with a beautiful, drought-tolerant pollinator garden! Read more.

Pollinator Plants for Winter Wildlife – January 2015

While your garden’s pollinators may sleep the winter away underground, many birds, mammals, and other creatures stay active. The plants you selected for pollinator value can support wildlife year-round by providing food and shelter during this challenging time. Read more.

Paper Wasps, Just Like Us – July 2014

If you check under the eaves of your house or other man-made structures around your home, you may very well find a recently founded paper wasp colony. While it might seem awfully late in the season for a queen to start with a new brood, she may found multiple late-season colonies (sometimes called “satellite nests”) as insurance against total reproductive failure in the case of predation. Read more.

The Other Beneficial Insects – April, 2014

This month we’re looking beyond the pollinator garden, to that other garden many of us are feverishly planting this time of year: the vegetable plot. Even as we start dreaming of giant pumpkins and heirloom tomatoes, we know the pests of those plants are looking forward to the harvest as much as we are. And because we care about protecting pollinators, we loathe using insecticides. Read more.

Spring Planning – February, 2014

Even if your garden is still covered with snow, the garden catalog season has arrived. Like us, you’re probably leafing through page after page of glossy wildflower photos thinking about what to plant this year for your bees and butterflies. Here are a few tips to maximize the impact of your plant choices: Read more.

Flower Stem Bee Nests – November, 2013

Before cutting back and composting the end-of-season flower stalks in your garden this month, you might consider salvaging some of that material for easy-to-make bee nests. For example, most leafcutter bees, mason bees, yellow-faced bees, and more will happily nest in the dry, hollow stems of many common garden plants. Read more..

Saving Seeds – October, 2013

Beginning this month, we will be highlighting a seasonally relevant gardening issue in every Bring Back the Pollinators newsletter. This month, we encourage you to think about seed saving. By late October, in much of the country wildflowers are done blooming and are dying back to the ground. Read more.


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Long horned bee (Melissodes sp.) on sunflower by Mace Vaughan. Paper wasp on nest by Whitney Cranshaw, Pollinator Garden by Matthew Shepherd. Sign in sunflowers by Celeste Ets-Hokin. Pollinator garden by Eric Mader.