Creating pollinator habitat benefits us as we depend on pollinators for one out of every three bites of food that we eat. About 75% of all flowering plants depend on pollinators. Most pollinators are beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. We depend on these pollinators for healthy plants and full harvests.
Everyone can play a role in helping to protect pollinators which can then help to pollinate our gardens. Following are the top 6 plant suggestions from Paul O’Hara of Blue Oak Native Landscaping and designer of wildlife habitats:
- Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) - our toughest oak and tolerant of urban stresses. If residents of Hamilton plant anything on their properties it should be a native oak tree as oaks feed more pollinating insects than any other native tree.
- Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) - our native juniper and is sought after by many native birds for nesting and feeding.
- Carolina Rose (Rosa carolina) - our native rose and great choice for urban gardens as it requires no pesticides or fungicides and the flowers are relished by native pollinators.
- Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) - host plant for Monarch caterpillar and feeding plant for many other butterflies, bees, beetles and insects.
- Asters (Symphyotrichum spp.) and Goldenrods (Solidago spp.) – Monarch butterflies and many other insects rely on Asters and Goldenrods for feeding in the fall. Monarchs depend on it as fuel to migrate to Mexico for the winter. Recommended Asters and Goldenrods for Hamilton include Blue-stemmed Goldenrod, Zig-zag Goldenrod, Gray Goldenrod, Early Goldenrod, Frost Aster, Heath Aster, Smooth Aster, and New England Aster.
- Virginia Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum) – a great nectar plant for pollinating insects.