Friday, June 21, 2013

Spring Plantings for Pollinators Perk Up the Garden

Submitted by: Jessica Gonzales

All gardeners know that spring is the time to give the garden a “face lift” for summer. In our Pollinator Garden, the work began early to prepare for the arrival of beneficial insects and birds eager to forage on nectar and pollen. 

Flowers welcome our wonderful pollinators - Photo credit: Jessica Gonzales (USFWS)
This spring, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), teamed up to add new plants, such as showy penstemon, mountain hollyhock, snow buckwheat, arrowleaf balsamroot and snowberry, and a new thick layer of bark mulch to the office’s Pollinator Garden. 

The Pollinator Garden, located at the offices of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Forest Service, Farm Service Agency and Cascadia Conservation District in Wenatchee, Washington, was established in 2012 to provide plants that would supply pollinators with food and pollen and a place for people to enjoy and learn about these amazing creatures. The garden now contains over 40 cubic yards of wood chips, over 50 species of plants, and soon-to-be-finished native bee nesting structures (old aspen logs stuck in the ground).

Flowers beginning to bloom - Photo credit: Jessica Gonzales (USFWS)
Why make a garden especially for pollinators? These hardworking creatures play an immensely important role in pollinating agricultural crops, home gardens, and natural ecosystems! More than 75% of flowering species rely on pollinators to reproduce. In the city, a landscape of concrete, asphalt and lawns, the bees, beetles, butterflies, flies and hummingbirds appreciate a small oasis of colorful and tasty flowers to feed, reproduce, and rest in. In Wenatchee, the Apple Capital of the World, we take our pollinators seriously!  The garden is an opportunity to celebrate the work of pollinators that provide our community with healthy foods and healthy ecosystems, while taking a break with the bees.

Patiently planting seeds for the future - Photo credit: Amy Hendershot (NRCS)

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