Over the past three years I have learned that pollinators, native bees specifically, are doing much better in cities than they are in the country side and farming areas. This came as a big surprise to me but once the reasons were explained, it made total sense. You see, cities are bursting with polyculture gardens replete with a barrage of plants and vegetation. Pollinators thrive on this type of vegetation. Farms generally offer the opposite and are largely a monoculture of plants all in rows, as far as the eye can see. Native bees need a variety of plants to thrive.
Recently, there are cases where cities and towns are asking homeowners to leave sections of their gardens to grow wild. The hope is that these native gardens will draw pollinators to the space and keep them in good health. Except…this is a difficult request to follow for many people. Home gardeners take pride in beautiful spaces and a wild garden does not present as such to most.
This was a particularly difficult concept for me, a self-confessed Type A teacher, to comprehend and execute. Leaving a mix of plants to grow and extend and stretch out is exactly what I have avoided for all the years that I have been planting a garden. I am quick to divide perennials and make the space neat by weeding and cutting back on any vines that grow too close to another plant. So, this summer I am challenging myself (and my neighbours) to let go of the order in my garden. I am letting my plants go where they may in hopes that more pollinators will grace us and help us to keep learning.
Please, post pictures of your pollinator garden and show us how you are contributing to #bringbackthebees