Further to columnist Joanne Young’s point about growing native plants, (“The importance of pollinators,” June 8), you can also select specific plants for your garden that attract beneficial pollinators.
Here’s great advice from Toronto advocate and author Lorraine Johnson, quoting expert Heather Holm, who says “enhancing habitat with native flowering plants near fruit and vegetable beds will attract beneficial insects. These beneficial insects are crucial for pollination and for pest control.”
Below is Holm’s guide to native wildflowers that attract beneficial insects.
“I recently developed these beneficial insect handouts for fruit and vegetable growers for the Marion County Soil & Water Conservation District (based in Indiana). These lists should be useful for anyone living in the upper Midwest or northeast. Just swap out a few of the plants for different species in the same genus if necessary. For example, Vernonia fasciculata instead of Vernonia gigantea for those in the upper Midwest.”
Follow the links below to download a free copy of each: “Wildflowers for Beneficial Insects: A Guide for Fruit and Vegetable Growers” – https://marionswcd.org/wp-content/uploads/MarionCountySWCD-Wildflowers-for-Beneficial-Insects.pdf
“Beneficial Insects for Fruit and Vegetable Growers – https://www.pollinatorsnativeplants.com/uploads/1/3/9/1/13913231/marioncountyswcd-beneficial-insects-for-fruit-and-vegetable-growers.pdf
The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s Guide to Native Plants can help you choose what works for your garden space – https://npca.ca/images/uploads/common/Native_Plant_Guide.pdf
Johnson’s fabulous book, “A Garden for the Rusty Patched Bumblebee,” outlines all sorts of native plants and their benefits to pollinators and, thus, us. It is an excellent resource guide for choosing plants for your garden.
Also avoid invasive plants, which includes English ivy, periwinkle, Lily of the Valley, creeping Jenny, and the ever shared orange ditch daylily. They cause havoc to our environment and your microbiome in your soil.
The Ontario Invasive Plant Council’s “Grow Me Instead” documents can be found at https://www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Southern-Grow-Me-Instead-1.pdf.
Betty Houghton Knight