New Pollinator Garden!

There is a growing concern for the demise of many native pollinators, upon which we depend for pollination of our fruits and vegetables. It appears that habitat loss, introduced diseases, pollution and pesticide poisoning account for much of the population declines.  Upper Valley Pollinator Partners have challenged our Upper Valley area to create 100 new pollinator gardens this year and Canillas Community Garden is rising to the challenge.

Thanks to the Robert F. Church Charitable Fund, the Canillas Community Garden has funding .  .  .  and thanks to gardener Suzanne Church, we have a plan.


Pollinator Garden Plan for under Canillas Sign

A pollinator garden will be planted under the Canillas Community Garden sign. We will plant sunflowers, black-eyed susans, lupine, bee balm, lance-leaf coreopsis, helenium, alyssum, echinacea, clover, and other flowering plants that attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths and other pollinators. This will be in addition to the many pollinator-attracting flowers in the spiral garden, the crab apple tree, the lilacs and blueberry bushes, and the newly-planted maple tree.

CCBA currently uses Roundup to keep weeds from encroaching on the path by the river; they have agreed to not use this herbicide near the garden, nor will they use the Scotts Turf Builder Plus 2 (which contains an herbicide) nearby. This is a step forward. We are hoping that, in time, we can find a benign way to keep weeds off the path.

Here are a few tips from the USDA Forest Service detailing ways to attract and support pollinators:

  • Use a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall.
    Help pollinators find and use them by planting in clumps, rather than single plants. Include plants native to your region.
  • Avoid modern hybrid flowers, especially those with “doubled” flowers.
    Often plant breeders have unwittingly left the pollen, nectar, and fragrance out of these blossoms while creating the “perfect” blooms for us.
  • Eliminate pesticides whenever possible.
    If you must use a pesticide, use the least-toxic material possible. Read labels carefully before purchasing, as many pesticides are especially dangerous for bees. Use the product properly. Spray at night when bees and other pollinators are not active.
  • Include larval host plants in your landscape.
    If you want colorful butterflies, grow plants for their caterpillars. They WILL eat them, so place them where unsightly leaf damage can be tolerated. Accept that some host plants are less than ornamental if not outright weeds. A butterfly guide will help you determine the plants you need to include. Plant a butterfly garden!
  • Create a damp salt lick for butterflies and bees.
    Use a dripping hose, drip irrigation line, or place your bird bath on bare soil to create a damp area. Mix a small bit of table salt (sea salt is better!) or wood ashes into the mud.
  • Spare that limb!
    By leaving dead trees, or at least an occasional dead limb, you provide essential nesting sites for native bees.


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