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  Why Promote Pollinator Habitat?

Pollinating animals include Hummingbirds, bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, and beetles. By feeding on flowering plants, they pollinate other plants so that they might bear fruit and seed. Such pollinators account for up to 85 percent of the pollinization of flowering plants. In addition two-thirds of food crops require such pollinization.

Alarmingly, many pollinator species are in decline due to habitat loss, pesticide use, disease, and parasites.

The good news is that anyone with a lawn or land can create pollinator habitat that is as beautiful to homeowners as it is necessary to pollinators. Once established, these "pollinator plots" are inexpensive and easy to maintain. Moreover, you'll enjoy greater pollinazation of your own garden plants and fruit trees.

The key to pollinator plots is integrating them into the existing landscape so that they do not look unkemp or piecemeal.

We can start pollinator plots from plugs (little potted plants) or from seed. The photo of this plot was taken in its second year, a year in which the Black and Brown Eyed Susan's dominate.

In subsequent years, the yellows give way to a mix of lavender and reds that you see in the below photo.

In this photo, you can see a pollinator plot in its third year in which the Purple Prairie Clover, Purple Coneflower, and Monarda is coming in. The Grey Headed Conefloower is in the taller plant in the background, and can be expected to bloom in late July through September. Though you can't tell from this photo, this plot of wildflowers and native grasses is just that--a plot. That is, it is surounded by turf grass. In effect, it is a landscaped garden bed that does not have to be weeded frequently.
This is my own house. I've been working on this prairie for about 16 years now. Each year extend the prairie a bit further into a wetlands that is part of our property. It is safe to say that one cannot gaze upon this prairie without seeing a half a dozen Monarch butterflies flitting about. To see the bees, one need only walk through the prairie and focus in an any plant. You'll be amazed at the abundance of insect activity hovering around the wildflowers in bloom.
Pollinator plots can have a more natural look by planting an area with seed or plugs. This planting in waves, sections, or clusters, creates a more formal look. We like to complement these wilflower sections with clusters of native grasses. Either way, the homeowner ends up with a low maintenance, environmentally-friendly landscape that can be enjoyed by humans, insects, and birds alike.
On larger properties, the outer areas from the house can be seeded in native grasses and wildflowers. Often we design these landscapes so that they include paths that serve as firebreaks. The paths allow for easy access through the prairie and allow for easy maintenance when it comes time for a prescribed burn.