Friday, April 15, 2011

Plant a Garden for the Earth

bumblebee on thistle
Next Friday is Earth Day. Here's one simple thing you can do to make the earth a better place: plant a garden for pollinators. Many kinds of bees and butterflies – even bats – carry pollen from the anthers (male part) in one flower to the stigma (female part) of another, allowing for fertilization and fruit production.

One out of every three bites of food we eat is made possible by a pollinator - without them we wouldn’t have strawberry jam, pizza, or applesauce. Not only that, 80 percent of all flowering plants rely on pollinators for survival.

But some native bees and butterflies are having a hard time surviving. Overuse of pesticides can kill of beneficial insects, including those that pollinate our food crops. Fragmenting the landscape, due to development, makes it hard for butterflies and bees to find important food sources so they can raise their young.

You can give pollinators a helping hand – and keep them doing their job – by planting the kinds of flowers they need. You don’t a lot of space to grow flowers that provide nectar for pollinators. But it is important to plant native species. Here’s a list of some plants that are rich in pollen or nectar – you might even find some of them growing in an abandoned lot or along a roadway in your area:

Aster (Aster)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
Currant (Ribes)
Elder (Sambucus)
Goldenrod (Solidago)
Huckleberry (Vaccinium)
Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium)
Lupine (Lupinus)
Penstemon (Penstemon)
Purple coneflower (Echinacea)
Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus)
Rhododendron (Rhododendron)
Sage (Salvia)
Stonecrop (Sedum)
Sunflower (Helianthus)
Wild buckwheat (Eriogonum)
Willow (Salix)

Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of  Planting the Wild Garden. This particular contest is limited to folks who live in the United States. All you have to do to enter is:
1. Become a follower on Archimedes Notebook if you’re not already (it’s easy – just click on the “follow” button at the right);
2. Leave a comment on this blog about why wild gardens and weedy places are important; and
3. email me at sueheaven{at}gmail{dot}com to let me know you’ve entered so I can email you if you win. I promise I won’t keep any email addresses.
The contest for this book ends Sunday April 17.


  1. Wild gardens attract butterflies! We're building one this spring.

  2. Weedy places are great for our bee friends to pollinate!

  3. wild and weedy places are beautiful, can be yummy, and they are full of life. Turns out others (bees, butterflies etc) think so too.

  4. Wild gardens and weedy places are the same in my garden. I love to let things grow naturally without interference and see what happens as well as supplementing with native plants for wildlife and pollinators of all kinds.