Local sources for assessing and planning pollinator-friendly gardens

“I realized it for the first time in my life: there is nothing but mystery in the world, how it hides behind the fabric of our poor, browbeat days, shining brightly, and we don’t even know it.” ~ Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees, 1993

In Sunday’s Mail Tribune column (Jan. 21, 2018), I offered 10 ideas for creating a pollinator habitat in our gardens and landscapes. Here are links to three local sources that are helpful for assessing and planning pollinator-friendly gardens and yards.

Gardening with Oregon Native Plants West of the Cascades

Native Pollinator Plants for Southern Oregon

Plants for Pollinators in Oregon

  1. 1.     Sun, soil and moisture conditions of areas for pollinator habitats

My pollinator-friendly garden

Sun exposure varies in my yard, from full sun to partial sun in areas where the tall maple and sycamore trees provide shade during part of the day. I have a lot of native clay in my soil, so it is often wet in the winter and dry in the summertime. The soil in my yard is watered by drip and spray irrigation. For the past several years, I’ve amended the soil by working in 3-4 inches of compost each spring and mulching with bark to keep moisture in during our summer drought periods.

I want to focus on drought-tolerant plants that do well in full sun or (8 hours of direct sunlight a day; afternoon sun OK) and partial sun exposure (4 hours of direct sunlight a day, preferably in the morning).

  1. 2.     Water for pollinators  

I have an electric fountain in my front yard. I used to also have a bird bath, but some neighborhood turkeys (the bird kind) knocked it over and broke it. I still need to replace it. Drip/spry irrigation also provides moisture on plants.

  1. 3.     Shelter for pollinators

I provide lots of natural shelter for pollinators in my yard. I have trees with exfoliating bark and cavities. I have bare patches in my soil for ground-nesting pollinators. I also keep most of my perennials standing over winter to provide food and shelter for pollinating insects and birds.

  1. 4.     Current pollinator plants

Native pollinator plants

Oregon white oak, Oregon vine maple, evergreen huckleberry, kinnikinnick (bearberry), goldenrod, Western yarrow

Non-native pollinator plants

crabapple ‘Snowdrift,’ black-eyed Susan, candytuft, purple coneflower, rose campion, lavender, lupine, oregano, rosemary, sage, sedum, statice, strawberries, thyme, coreopsis, purple verbena, foxglove, Erica (heather) nicotiana and annual and perennial chrysanthemum

  1. 5.     Other appropriate pollinator plants

Native pollinator plants

Full sun and drought-tolerant shrubs, perennials and annuals: blueblossom (SH), deer brush (SH), Oregon sunshine (P); horsemint (P), narrowleaf milkweed (P); farewell-to-spring (A), globe gilia (A), California poppy (A)

Partial sun and drought-tolerant shrubs, perennials and annuals: red-flowering currant; red-twig dogwood, red elderberry, mock orange, ocean spray, Oregon grape, Nootka rose, salal, serviceberry, Douglas spirea, asters (Douglas, Eaton’s Henderson’s, Oregon golden), blue-eyed grass, camas, Western red columbine, Douglas and Oregon iris, Oregon sunshine, Cascade penstemon, broadleaf stonecrop

Non-native pollinator plants

Full sun/partial sun and drought-tolerant perennials and annuals: agastache mint, perennial alyssum, Gaillardia, bluebeard, erigeron, centaurea, pelargonium, globe thistle, hyssop, allium, scabiosa

  1. 6.     Pollinator cover crops

Early to mid-blooming (N=native)

Alfalfa, baby blue eyes (N), bell beans, calendula, crimson clover, mustard, vetch

Mid to late-blooming

Alyssum (annual or sweet), basil, borage, California buckwheat and sulphur (N), coriander, cosmos, red clover, dill, marigold, Mexican sunflower, scabiosa, single zinnias

I’m creating a spreadsheet that includes bloom times, flower color, and plant size. I’ll use the information to create a planting map for the new pollinator plants I select for my yard and garden.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • About the Author

    Rhonda Nowak

    Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, writer and teacher. With more than 25 years of gardening experience and a Ph.D. in literature and language arts education, she combines a love for plants, poetry, and prose in her Literary Gardener blog. ... Full Profile
  • Categories

  • Archives