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Northeast Regional Reports

Planting a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

These selections will have your yard abuzz with pollinators

A bumblebee is drawn to this ‘Mountain Mania’ mountain hydrangea (Hydrangea serrata 'Mountain Mania', Zones 6–9). Photo: Kristin Green.

It’s not enough anymore for a garden to be beautiful. It should also be attractive. The more we welcome insects, the more we help sustain the local ecosystem’s food chains. When we cater to pollinators in particular, we support our own food supply as well.

Start by ditching the pesticides. Trust nature to find the balance to control infestations. Then include the elements that make gardens gorgeous: a succession of nectar-rich and pollen-heavy flowers from last frost to first, and host plants for moth and butterfly caterpillars.

Most pollinating insects aren’t superpicky. Some, like honeybees, will only work one species at a time, a trait that makes them efficient food crop pollinators. Others sample every dish at the buffet. Even though many species of pollinators are armed with stingers, when they’re foraging in the garden they’re peaceful companions, happy to work alongside each other and you.

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