Piggybacking off the White House’s May release of the Pollinator Research Action Plan, environmental horticulturist Kim Eierman is launching a campaign to make American homeowners and gardeners aware of strategies they can implement in their own gardens and yards in support of pollinators. Eierman will speak about pollinators at workshops, classes and events across the country in the coming year, to spread her message.
“The European honey bee and our 4,000 species of native bees in the U.S. have suffered dramatic losses to their populations. Since bees pollinate a significant portion of our food crops, this is a problem that affects all of us. Without bee pollination services, many of our common fruits, nuts and vegetables would no longer be available,” said Eierman. “Most of our landscapes offer little in the way of nectar and pollen sources, which bees depend upon. To make things worse, our frequent use of pesticides, including seemingly benign lawn care products, is devastating to bees and other pollinators.”
“The White House has taken the lead with the recent Pollinator Research Action Plan, but individual actions are just as important,” added Eierman. "During World Word II Americans rallied to create over 1 million Victory Gardens -- food gardens for defense. Americans can do it again - this time creating Pollinator Victory Gardens to defend pollinators and our food supply. Every garden counts!"
Kim Eierman’s Basic Tips for Creating a Pollinator-Friendly Home Garden
1) Plant for a succession of bloom from spring through fall.
Different pollinator species emerge at different times of year, and have different lifespans. Create an ongoing "pollinator buffet" throughout the growing season.
2) Skip the double-flowered plants - they have little, and sometimes no, nectar or pollen.
What is beautiful to the human eye may be a source of starvation for a bee or other pollinator. Find the beauty in what a plant does, not just how it looks.
3) Don't forget to include trees and shrubs in your landscape – pollinators need them.
Many "woody" plants are important for pollinators, and not just those with showy blooms. Some early blooming native trees and shrubs can be a source of nectar or pollen to early emerging bees. Some trees even provide habitat to pollinators.
Kim Eierman is an environmental horticulturist specializing in ecological landscapes and native plants. She is the Founder of EcoBeneficial!, a horticulture communications and consulting company. Eierman teaches at the New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Native Plant Center, et al. She is an active speaker on many ecological gardening topics, presenting at industry conferences, garden clubs, nature centers and more. A Certified Horticulturist through the American Society for Horticultural Science, Eierman is also a Master Gardener, a Master Naturalist, an Accredited Organic Landcare Professional and a Steering Committee member of The Native Plant Center. She received a 2014 Silver Award of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association.