- Conservatives join New Hampshire rally in support of campaign finance reform
- 11 public housing residents complete job readiness training
- Youth health care enrollment event at NIU Rockford Jan. 29
- More than 50 employers at Jan. 29 job fair
- School district’s credit rating remains solid
- State Police seize LSD, cannabis, U.S. currency in I-80 arrest
- Park District names employee, team of the year
- A closer look at fracking for natural gas
- Susan Johnson, copy editor, moves on after 21 years
- Guest Column: Clean Water Act: Supporters of clean water must make their voices heard
Choosing the right plants and herbs for your pollinator garden
By Susan Jongeneel
Media/Communications Specialist, University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
URBANA, Ill. — Bumblebees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and some other birds are essential for plant pollination, which must take place for fruit to form. University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Kelly Allsup encourages gardeners to choose plants and herbs for next spring’s garden that will attract these pollinators.
Pollinator gardens typically contain native perennials such as the aromatic anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), drought-tolerant coreopsis (Coreopsis grandiflora), spring-blooming wild indigo (Baptisia australis) and the white-flowering foxglove penstemon (Penstemon digitalis). Native insects have evolved with native plants and prefer them to non-native ornamental plants.
Pollinator gardens also incorporate flowering herbs such as lavender, marjoram, oregano, thyme, chives, fennel and parsley. Their aroma and consistent flowering make them attractive to pollinators, and are sources of nectar and pollen for beneficial insects and wasps.
“Provide pollen and nectar sources all throughout the growing season by planting perennials, herbs and ornamentals that flower at different times,” said Allsup.
Plant flowers of different colors and contrasting shapes in the pollinator garden. Butterflies are attracted to orange, red and yellow and need a landing platform. Bees are attracted to blue, yellow and white and can see ultraviolet markings, the nectar guides, leading them to the source of nectar and pollen. Hummingbirds prefer plants with long tubular flowers in shades of red.
Allsup urges gardeners to include a decorative bird bath to serve as a source of water for pollinators, birds and other wildlife.
She warns that chemical pesticides should not be used on pollinator gardens and surrounding areas. Accept some insect damage, or use organic pesticides.
For more about garden pests, beneficial insects, and fruit and vegetable news, visit the University of Illinois Extension’s Horticulture Blog, “Flowers, Fruits, and Frass,” at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/.
From the Nov. 7-13, 2012, issue