Here a Pollinator Garden - There a Pollinator Garden – Everywhere a Pollinator Garden - Part 3
Master Gardener Brenda Scheer understands how important pollinator gardens are for the environment and wanted to start this type of garden. But how to start? This article is the third in a series of three in which Brenda describes her experience starting a pollinator garden in her backyard. Follow Brenda’s motivation, planning, lessons and tips to build your own environmentally friendly garden. In this installment, Brenda talks about planting and lessons learned.
Brenda Scheer, Master Gardener
(This is the third in a series of three articles by Master Gardener Brenda Scheer describing her experience starting a pollinator garden in her backyard. Follow Brenda’s motivation, planning, planting and tips to build your own environmentally friendly garden.)
It’s finally time to plant! My plants are available to pick up on Friday, June 17, 2022. And you know what they say, about the best laid plans . . . I get my plants home and realize that a full 20% are not what I originally ordered! I knew that there was a possibility for substitutions when ordering kits but I wasn’t expecting this many. I do some quick research on the replacement plants and make some changes to the planting plan.
As luck would have it, it’s going to be in the upper 80’s on Saturday and in the mid 90’s on Sunday. A great weekend to plant the 180 plants ordered - not really, but we will make it work. I’ve enlisted my brother and my sister-in-law to help install the pollinator garden on Saturday.
Up until this point, the most beneficial tool in the pollinator garden had been the chainsaw I used to clear unwanted trees and shrubs. On planting day, the most beneficial tool is the drill auger attachment used to “dig” 180 planting holes. We finish planting a full hour earlier than anticipated and it looks great! Time to get some water on this new garden.
Care for the new garden is pretty basic – water and weed. The new plants need an inch of water a week Ito help them get established. Removing weeds reduces competition for soil nutrients, water and sunlight.
I was pleasantly surprised to see seven varieties of plants bloom their first season! And yes, I even saw some pollinators in the garden.
What I would do differently
Plan for wildlife - I lost 8 plants, not a lot but enough
Look for deer and rabbit resistant plants when purchasing plants and/or
Protect new plants from wildlife
Start planning earlier
Identify the physical garden area earlier that way plants can be ordered before some sell out
Manage my expectations, with the part sun/part shade conditions, my plants are healthy but growing slower than they would in full sun
What I would do again
Plant a pollinator garden
Order plant kits for a first-time pollinator garden
Work with the Lawns to Legumes program or consider a similar program
Recruit or accept offers to help plant the garden
Use the chainsaw and drill auger attachment
First time events for 2023
Clean up the pollinator garden in the spring - leaving the garden standing protects any overwintering pollinators
Leave beds of leaves, twigs and other “messy” areas near the pollinator garden to encourage pollinators to both overwinter and make their homes near this food source
Evaluate how plants are doing in their current location, move plants that are struggling
Replace plants that have died or were damaged
Select replacement plants on my own vs. using a plant kit
Calling all pollinators! The garden should be bigger and better than last year.
Photo Credit: Brenda Scheer (1,2,3,4,5)