Melinda's Seminar: Create a Pollinator's Garden

Melinda's Pollinator Seminar

How to fill your garden with the color, motion and the benefits of pollinators.

Why Pollinators Need Our Help       

  • Habitat Loss – smaller more fragmented green spaces
  • Diseases, predators and parasites taking out the bees
  • Pesticides –
    • Insecticides of course
    • Fungicides – may make beneficial insects more susceptible to disease
    • Herbicides – kill weeds that beneficials nectar upon
      • 50 different pollinators feeding on dandelions and clover

Creating the Habitat

  • Shelter, food, water, and place to raise their young
    • Include multiple layers – trees, shrubs and perennials
    • Snags, stones, leaf litter and dead plants (leave perennials stand for winter)
    • Open spaces for ground nesting bees
    • Commercial and homemade nesting boxes
  • Water
    • Ponds, bird baths and water features
    • Shallow with sloping sides for easy access
    • Puddles, damp spot, damp sponge for bees and butterflies - pinch of wood ash or sea salt

Design Strategies

  • Plant in Mass - For efficient pollination – continuous cover
    • Even a window box will help
    • Join forces with your neighbors
  • Use a wide variety of plants
    • Natives whenever possible and appropriate
    • Different bloom times (nectar, pollen and foliage all season)
    • Winter – leave perennials stand – food, habitat and beauty
    • Include a few night bloomers
    • Various colors and flower shapes
    • Single flowers better than doubles
    • Rotten fruit for butterflies, bees and beetles

Food for various pollinators

  • Butterflies – bright colors including red and purple
    • Narrow tube with spur or landing pad
  • Moths - tend to feed in the evening, so pale or white, sweet smelling flowers
    • Also pale and dull red, purple, pink or white & tubular
  • Bees – attracted to bright white, yellow, blue or UV
  • Beetles are generalist and not the best pollinators – dull white or green blooms
    • Large, strongly scented flowers like Canadian ginger, Magnolia
  • Flies are also generalist – small flowers in shady, moist habitats
    • Pale and dull, dark brown or purple & shallow, funnel-like or trap-like
    • Annuals, bulbs, Skunk cabbage, goldenrod
  • Birds (mainly hummingbirds) – bright colored, tubular flowers
    • Scarlet, orange, red or white


Supplemental Food

  • Draw them into the garden & increase diversity
  • Hummingbird Mix - One part sugar (not honey) and 4 parts water
    • Mix, cool if needed, refrigerate extra (Clean feeder every 2-3 days)


A Few of the Plants

BULBS (early nectar source and color for you to enjoy)

                Winter aconite, Crocus tommasinianus (squirrel resistant)

                Grape hyacinths, Iris, Allium, Lilies and Autumn crocus (Colchicum)


                Parsley and Licorice vine for caterpillars

                Fuchsia, Begonia for Shade (SH)

                Pansies, Dianthus – cooler weather

                Petunias, Lantana, Pentas, Heliotrope, Cuphea, Zinnia

                Salvia, Nicotiana, Cosmos, Lettuce, Verbena bonariensis (reseeds & can be weedy)

                Mexican sunflower, Sunflower


                Virginia bluebells (SH), Lungwort, Pasque flower, Columbine

                Peony, Bleeding heart, Iris siberica, Coral bells

                Astilbe (SH), Verbena Canadensis, Phlox, Butterfly Weed,

                Hosta (SH), Salvia, Veronica, Liatris, Rudbeckia, Purple Coneflower,

                Turtlehead, Mum, Goldenrod, Aster


                Prairie Dropseed, Little Bluestem, Switchgrass


                Azaleas & Rhododendron (SH), Korean Spice Viburnum (SH),

Arrowwood Viburnum (SH), Chokeberry (Aronia) (SH), Lilac, Fothergilla (SH), Weigela, Dogwood (SH), Shrub roses, Elderberry (SH), Butterfly bush, Rose-of-Sharon, Blue mist spirea (Caryopteris), Witchhazel, Juniper


                Trumpet vine, Honeysuckle vine, Clematis, Pipe vine, Scarlet runner bean


                Amelanchier, Crabapple, Hawthorn, Mountain ash, Redbud, American Linden, Evergreens


Other Resources

Landscaping for Wildlife; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Garden Butterflies of North America by Rick Mikula

National Audubon Field Guides to North American Butterflies

The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley

Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Winged Wonders to Your Backyard by Kris Wetherbee


Tools to Help You Manage the Garden

Long lasting DeWitt Garden Tools & Multifunctional Big Grip Knife


Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience.  She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s notes from her seminar, 'Creating a Pollinator's Garden' on July 8, 2017.