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Northwest Gardening: Attracting Pollinators

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Want more buzz out of gardening in the Northwest? Learn to attract pollinators to the garden with Lowe's regional garden contributor Marianne Binetti.

 A bee visits a euphorbia.
Native rhododendrons in bloom.

Want a great buzz? You need to attract more pollinators to your garden! Bees aren't the only ones moving pollen from flower to flower. Hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, flies and even some beetles do this important work throughout the growing season.

Gardeners can help increase the dwindling food supply of native pollinating birds and insects by adding more native plants, leaving a stump or snag for shelter, and growing fragrant tube-shape or daisylike blooms. You'll help restore a healthy ecosystem by adding these plants, and increase your fruit and vegetable production while you're at it!

Pulmonaria and bee's are a beneficial combination.

In my garden early-blooming native plants, including salals (Gaultheria), pulmonarias, lamiums, rhododendrons and trilliums, celebrate spring color and welcome hungry hummingbirds and buzzing bumblebees. But don't think that only wildflowers and natives create buzz. I've added the lime-green blossoms of euphorbia, fragrant bulbs such as hyacinth and even some roses to keep bees and hummingbirds stopping by all summer long.

 Star magnolia, green hellebores and purple lamium

Mixing flowers with your edibles does more than just make things pretty. Cucumbers, melons and squash are more productive when you attract pollinators to the garden.

Here are my favorite spring bloomers that attract the first pollinators of the season: Star magnolia steals the stage as the diva, with bodacious white blooms. But bees also attend the supporting cast of purple lamium, early-blooming green hellebores and dainty blue forget-me-nots.


 Sedums, coreopsis, rudbeckias and daisies attract summer pollinators.

As summer arrives I keep the bees and butterflies near the vegetable garden so I'll have better production of squash and cucumbers. Summer pollinators especially gravitate to my orange and yellow garden of rudbeckias, begonias, coreopsis and 'Autumn Joy' sedums.

There is one more attraction in my garden that pollinators love: an old tree stump riddled with woodpecker holes. Our native orchard mason bees have moved right in and use the stump as their winter home and nursery.

So, tell me, what attracts the biggest buzz or happiest hum in your garden?

See more Northwest Gardening Articles.